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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK
UN Haiti mission in peril
Haitian police
UN want to make Haiti's police force more professional
By UN correspondent Mark Devenport

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Anan, has warned that the UN mission in Haiti may close unless the United States provides the cash needed to run the operation.

More than half the cost of the mission is due to be met, not from the UN's regular budget but by voluntary contributions from the US and Canada.

After the UN's international police pulled out of Haiti last month a new civilian support mission was meant to play a role in strengthening the judicial system, promoting human rights, organising elections and making the local police more professional.

Haitian voters registering in January
UN also wants elections to take place after several delays
Under an unusual funding arrangement only $9m of the cost came from the UN's regular budget whilst more than $40m should have been provided by a trust fund consisting of contributions from the US and Canada.

Canada is shortly expected to deliver more than half a million dollars and the United States has earmarked nearly $2m for a helicopter service.

Programme transfer

But the shortfall remains severe, limiting the UN mission to only 15 staff when it should be around 140 strong.

Kofi Anan says the mission is unable to carry out its work in the justice, human rights and policing areas and the UN General Assembly should consider whether it should be closed.

Some functions, he suggests, might be transferred to the UN's economic development programme in Haiti.

Warning to US

US officials insist they are working on the funding problem in consultation with the congress in Washington and they don't believe the mission in Haiti will be forced to close.

What the UN secretary general appears to be doing is warning the United States that time is running out.

Mr Anan expresses his concern about what he calls the increasing tendency of member states to give the UN mandates to carry out missions without insuring the necessary financial resources are available to do the job.

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01 Apr 00 | Americas
Haiti postpones elections
15 Mar 00 | Americas
UN presses Haiti to call elections
21 Jan 00 | Americas
US military leaves Haiti
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