Spain to leave Haiti if no cash from donors

5th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 May 2005, NEW YORK — Spain will pull its troops out of Haiti by the end of this year if donor nations fail to deliver on monetary pledges.

5 May 2005

NEW YORK — Spain will pull its troops out of Haiti by the end of this year if donor nations fail to deliver on monetary pledges.

The Spanish defence minister Jose Bono told the United Nations Madrid's position stems from the financial straits of the overall UN effort in Haiti.

It has so far received less than half the EUR 540 million promised by members of the world body.

"This is a demonstration of the lack of solidarity and the selfishness (of UN member nations), because Haiti is one of the poorest countries on the planet," Bono said.

"Haiti needs military forces, but above all it needs food and humanitarian aid. Hence, our presence in Haiti will be re-evaluated, together with Morocco, if the countries that have promised to deliver humanitarian assistance don't do so before the end of 2005," he said.

Noting that Spanish and Moroccan troops were deployed to Haiti in a joint operation last December, he said that out of "loyalty and courtesy", Madrid would make no decisions about the mission without first informing Rabat.

Bono told reporters the UN expressed understanding for Spain's position on funds for Haiti.

In fact, the minister said, "the UN is also very concerned about this situation".

While stressing "Spain's commitment to Haiti, as proven by its presence" in the Caribbean nation, Bono said that his implied threat to withdraw Spanish troops was intended only to pressure donor nations into making good on their promises.

"We don't want to leave (Haiti), what we want is for the will of the United Nations to be fulfilled and not be reduced to just words and resolutions," he added.

Spain currently has nearly 2,000 troops deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping and/or security operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Haiti.

Only the Haitian mission is under UN control, as the European Union directs the efforts in Bosnia and NATO is managing the deployments in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Elsewhere, 600 Spanish military personnel have recently completed disaster relief in the tsunami-stricken region of Indonesia, while Spain has officers serving as military observers in the Horn of Africa, Congo, Burundi and Sudan.

The 200 Spanish marines in Haiti share with a Moroccan contingent the responsibility for security in a broad swath of the Caribbean nation.

The UN mission in Haiti was established by a 2004 Security Council resolution mandating the stabilisation of the country, support for the transitional government and protection of human rights.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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