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28422: (news) Chamberlain: More aid crucial to Haitian leader's success -UN
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, May 19 (Reuters) - The top U.N. envoy in Haiti urged
international donors on Friday to keep aid flowing during President Rene
Preval's first six months in office or risk renewed instability in the poor
"At this point in time it is absolutely urgent to mobilize funds to
support Haiti for the first six months," said Juan Gabriel Valdes,
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative for Haiti.
Valdes, a Chilean, is stepping down next month, to be replaced as U.N.
mission head in Haiti by veteran Guatemalan diplomat Edmond Mulet.
Preval took office last Sunday and quickly appealed for peace after
decades of dictatorship and military rule and recent political violence
that took hundreds of lives. He is Haiti's first democratically elected
leader since Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled into exile more than two years ago
under international pressure to quit.
If outside aid starts drying up, Preval would face a very difficult
environment that could undermine recent political and development progress
and fuel new violence, Valdes said.
"He has to pay teachers, he has to pay policemen, he has to pay health
workers, and the present situation does not allow him to do so," he told
A U.N. peacekeeping mission now numbering about 7,000 troops and 1,700
international police has been in Haiti since June 2004, supporting an
interim government installed to run the country until elections could be
"It is not the moment to leave. It is the moment to reinforce our
presence," Valdes said.
Several of Haiti's disparate armed gangs have offered to lay down
their weapons once Preval took office. But none has disarmed so far.
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