U.N. Force Assumes Haiti Peacekeeping Duties
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 25, 2004 The United Nations assumed command of peacekeeping activities in Haiti during a ceremony in Port-au-Prince today.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission assumed responsibility from the U.S.- led Multinational Interim Force.
The U.S. mission in Haiti is complete, and U.S. personnel accomplished all their missions, said DoD officials.
Brazil will lead the stabilization force. U.N. officials said they expect the force to number around 6,700 soldiers and 1,622 police. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay also have committed soldiers to the force. More than 30 nations will contribute police to the effort. U.N. officials said other countries are considering ways to support the peacekeeping mission.
The interim force numbered 3,600 from the United States, France, Chile and Canada. The U.S. element almost 2,000 personnel consisted primarily of Marines from Camp Lejuene, N.C. Army civil affairs personnel and special operations soldiers, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard personnel also participated. Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman commanded the force. All U.S. personnel should be out of the country save four officers working with the stabilization force by June 29, officials said.
Marines arrived in Haiti on Feb. 29. Officials in the country said their arrival stopped a bloodbath in the unfortunate Caribbean nation. They secured the region in and around Port-au-Prince. French troops arrived soon after and moved into the northern part of the country around Cap Haitien. Chilean and Canadian forces quickly joined the force.
On April 30, the United Nations approved the stabilization mission. The interim force was due to leave at the end of May, but was held in place until the U.N. forces were ready. Officials said the interim force worked with the U.N. peacekeepers to help them in readying for the mission.