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Last updated: 02 August, 2007 - Published 11:31 GMT
 
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UN chief visits Haiti
 
UN troops on patrol in Haiti
Haitians are ambivalent about the continued presence of UN troops in their country
The continued presence in Haiti of a UN peace-keeping force appears to have dominated talks between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Haitian President Rene Preval.

The UN chief is in Port Au Prince to assess the role of the UN forces there.

He's also been discussing with the government the challenges that still lie ahead in reviving Haiti's economy and government institutions.

Ban Ki-moon said that he would recommend an extension of the mandate of the UN forces in Haiti.

However while acknowledging that they have contributed to improving security, Haitian president Rene Preval expressed mixed feelings on the UN security presence.

He said, “if the Haitian people were asked if they wanted the UN forces to leave they would say yes.”

preval
President Preval says there are mixed feeling about the UN troops in Haiti

But the Haitian president admitted that if they were asked if the wanted them to leave now, the response would be different as the population is benefitting from having the troops there.

Ban Ki-moon set out to cast the U.N. mission in a positive light.

He said they were not there to impose anything on Haiti but to help the government establish security.

"The U.N. mission is here to create the necessary
conditions for Haitian authorities and international donors to implement a national strategy for the poorest urban areas."

He also praised Haiti for its role in what he called the struggle to decolonize Africa - a role he said that should never be forgotten.

Before leaving Haiti today for Barbados the UN chief will visit Cite Soleil.

It's Haiti's largest slum and regarded as the most important target for U.N. peacekeepers in tackling armed gangs.)

 
 
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