Canada Averts U.N. Fight, Adds Troops to Haiti Unit
Toups, Catherine, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
NEW YORK - The U.N. Security Council last night voted unanimously to extend the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti in a compromise that warded off a Chinese veto threatening it with extinction.
The 6,000-troop mission, now under U.S. command, will be extended by four months and scaled down to 1,200 soldiers and 300 civilian police - a mission smaller and shorter in duration than the other 14 council members wanted.
Canada, which will take over the U.N. mission, brought about the last-minute compromise when it agreed to supplement the 1,500-member force with up to 700 of its own troops that will be integrated into the U.N. mission.
The extra troops, to be paid for by Canada, bring the mission size up to the minimum needed for security of the mission, Canadian diplomats said.
U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, elated that a unanimous vote had averted yet another quarrel with China, announced the vote with a laugh.
"Yes, 15 votes!" she said. Miss Albright ended her month as council president with the Haiti resolution.
"The agreement will be sufficient to lock in the victory that we achieved in Haiti for democracy," said James P. Rubin, spokesman for the ambassador.
"We are only sorry that extraneous issues were brought into the council's deliberation."
China, in an apparent diplomatic tit-for-tat with Haiti, had threatened for the first time in more than 25 years to use its veto if the resolution called for putting more than 1,500 U.N. troops and police in Haiti. Although it is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, it has used it only three times in its 50 years in the United Nations and not at all since 1972, when President Nixon traveled there to end China's isolation.
Diplomats on the council say the Chinese are angry over Haiti's support of Taiwan, which it considers a renegade state. Specifically, Taiwan's vice president attended the Feb. 7 inauguration of Haitian President Rene Preval, and the Nationalist government was thanked for its support of Haiti in a speech last year at the United Nations by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. …