The United States on Tuesday backed plans to shut down the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, saying this was a 'strong example' of how missions should change to take account of the country's political situation.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley made the remarks ahead of a vote Thursday at the UN Security Council on ending the 13-year mission by October 15 and replacing it with a smaller police-only force.
We regard the transformation of the Haiti mission, including the withdrawal of the military, as a strong example for how peacekeeping missions can and should change as a country's political situation changes," Haley told the council.
The United States, the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, is reviewing UN peacekeeping missions with a view to closing or drawing down missions.
In Haiti, the mission known by its acronym MINUSTAH, was deployed in 2004 after the departure of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to help stem political violence but it has not endeared itself to Haitians.
An outbreak of cholera in 2010 was introduced by Nepalese UN peacekeepers serving in the mission. More than 9,000 Haitians died in the epidemic.
"Peacekeeping has made a great contribution to Haiti," Haley said, by ensuring a secure and stable environment.
The mission was not a "traditional peacekeeping effort" because there was no outright conflict or peace agreement to monitor, she said.
A smaller UN mission will support the Haitian police force as it takes over the task of ensuring stability and its staff will monitor human rights.
UN envoy Sandrine Honore said the six-month timetable to withdraw the 2,370 soldiers serving in the mission was realistic.
"We believe that with determination and with a disciplined approach to that timeframe, that six months in fact will be sufficient to achieve that goal," she said.
With its annual budget of $346 million, MINUSTAH does not rank among the costliest peacekeeping operations run by the United Nations, but its closure sends a signal about the need to streamline UN peacekeeping.