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Volume 18, Number 19 May 5, 2004
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Nearly 500 Canadian troops have been in Haiti since March taking part in a multinational security force dealing with the uprising that led to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fleeing the country.
Canada agreed last week to extend their deployment, after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that will eventually send more than 8,000 peacekeepers and police officers to the Caribbean nation.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed the resolution, which will see blue-helmeted peacekeepers take over from the U.S.-dominated multinational force that was deployed in February to end a three-week rebellion. The uprising led Haiti's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to flee the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said the roughly 500 Canadian troops who were to end their 90-day deployment later in the month will see their stay extended for as long as several months.
"We've undertaken, for transition purposes, to keep the troops there," Graham said, adding that the extension would allow other countries to fulfill their commitment to provide troops.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin called the U.N. resolution "good news" and said Canada's main contribution would eventually be in police training. "The whole issue of setting up the required institutions, that's where we want to work in conjunction with the Haitians," he told a news conference in Washington last Thursday after a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.
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