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UN hopes China play bigger role in stabilizing Haiti
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Hedi Annabi, U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations and chief of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, said Friday that he hoped China could play a bigger role in stabilizing Haiti.


In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Annabi said Haiti's security situation had significantly improved since the U.N. peacekeeping mission was deployed and the nation is seeing all-around development in various fields.


Annabi spoke highly of China's contribution to the peacekeeping mission, saying the Chinese riot squad and police stationed here are working hard and have demonstrated their professional capabilities.


"I have the chance to see the professionalism of China's police force and a Chinese policeman become director of an important U.N. police department in Haiti. They are all doing well," he said.


China regularly maintains a contingent of 125 police officers in Port-au-Prince. The actual unit, formed by the Frontier Police of Guangdong Province, will leave Haiti on Dec. 13. Another unit formed by the Frontier Police of Yunnan Province will take their place.


A 30-member advance group of the sixth riot squad that China has sent to Haiti arrived here Tuesday. The advance group would immediately start its handover process with their predecessors, and the remaining 95 riot police will be arriving on Dec. 13.

According to Annabi, China has become a big contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping efforts in the world. "China's role in Haiti is very important. I expect it to play a role even larger," he said.


A small island country in the Western Caribbean Sea, Haiti fell into chaos in 2004 after former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government collapsed.


Since then, a 7,800-member U.N. force has been tasked with providing security for the violence-wracked nation of about 8.7 million people. The U.N. Security Council recently renewed its mission through October 2008.


Since the arrival of the U.N. force, the security situation in Haiti has improved, said the Tunisian diplomat who took control of the U.N. system in Haiti in September.


However, he said the situation is still "fragile" and that Haitian police trained by the world body are not ready yet to takeover the duty of maintaining security.


"You don't create a police force in two or three years. ... It may takes 10, 20 or 30 years," he said.


"I hope when we leave Haiti, the country will have stabilization and there will be no more peacekeeping operations in Haiti. Once we leave, we won't come back," he said.


The U.N. envoy also vowed zero tolerance for alleged sex scandals involving his troops in Haiti.


In November, 108 Sri Lankan peacekeepers and three commanders were expelled amid allegations that soldiers patronized underage prostitutes.


"We won't let this affect the image of a country and also the image of the U.N.," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2007)


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