Brazil to start removing troops from Haiti

Defence Minister Celso Amorim told BBC Brasil that keeping the troops in Haiti will not benefit the poor country in the long term. His comments were confirmed by the defence ministry’s press office, which said there is no timetable to begin the troop withdrawal.

Brazil leads the UN peacekeeping mission sent to the Caribbean country in 2004 after a revolt toppled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The UN troops also were key after a devastating earthquake hit the nation in 2010.

The UN mission, which was always intended to be temporary, currently has more than 12,000 troops or police in Haiti.

“We have to be responsible in relation to Haiti and in relation to ourselves,” Amorim said in the interview with BBC Brasil. “But in the medium and long term, it’s not good for Haiti or for those who are there to have the troops stay forever.”

He said there is a need to avoid a feeling of false security in Haiti because of the presence of the troops.

Amorim made it clear, though, that the withdrawal needs to be coordinated with the UN and the other nations currently in Haiti to avoid creating another chaotic situation.

He noted that Haiti has held two consecutive elections, showing that the democracy appeared to be consolidated.

Amorim was Brazil’s foreign minister in the two terms of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who left office last year. He took over the defense ministry position after Nelson Jobim resigned last month.

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