November 25, 1998

UN leaves police trainers in Haiti for another year

                  UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- The U.N. Security Council on
                  Wednesday extended by one year an international police force in Haiti
                  responsible for training the country's national police.

                  By a 13-0 vote, with Russia and China abstaining, the council adopted a
                  resolution to keep the 285-member U.N. force in Haiti until Nov. 30, 1999.

                  The officers have been training Haiti's 3-year-old reconstituted national
                  police force and includes 145 police from 11 countries and a special
                  140-member security unit provided by Argentina.

                  Russia and China objected to keeping the police force under the Security
                  Council's peacekeeping operations, saying the council promised a year ago
                  that the venture would end in 1998.

                  But they said they did not use their veto to kill the resolution because of the
                  needs of the Haitian people. Both nations abstained from a vote on the

                  U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh said the decision to extend the U.N.
                  Civilian Police Mission in Haiti, known as MIPONUH, was necessary
                  because of the country's fragile democracy.

                  "We remain concerned with the present political impasse in Haiti," he told
                  the council.

                  "By withdrawing MIPONUH prematurely, before an adequate transition
                  mechanism is readied and at a time when Haitian democracy is fragile, we
                  would have jeopardized the very real achievements made by the Haitian
                  National Police," he said.

                  In Haiti, some members of parliament have objected strongly to any foreign
                  armed personnel in Haiti. But Haitian President Rene Preval officially
                  requested the international police in the country.

                  The police are the remainder of a 6,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force
                  that came to Haiti in March 1995. It replaced a 22,000-strong U.S.-led
                  force that a restored civilian government from a military dictatorship in 1992.

                  At that time, China and Russia also objected to the force. China protested
                  Haiti's ties to Taiwan, which its considers a renegade province.

                  Russia objected to peacekeepers in the U.S. sphere of influence when the
                  council had rejected Moscow's requests for forces in the former Soviet
                  republics of Georgia and Tajikistan.

                  Russian envoy Yuri Fedotov noted to reporters that the council had decided
                  five times in the past to conclude the operation and transfer its main functions
                  to U.N. development and humanitarian projects, which could include police
                  assistance. But each time the council made an about face and permitted the
                  police operation to continue, he said.

                   Copyright 1998 Reuters.