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Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

U.N. chief makes first trip to troubled nation

August 4, 2006

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— U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, making his first trip to Haiti, called Thursday for strengthening the national police force to stem an upsurge in kidnapping and lawlessness.

Annan, who was embraced by President Rene Preval at the airport, said the challenges facing the troubled Caribbean country remained vast, but "great strides" had been made in recent months.

"We have achieved a lot but much, much more needs to be done," Annan said in a speech at the National Palace.

Annan said the U.N Security Council should extend the current security operation, led by a U.N.-led Brazilian peacekeeping force, for another 12 months instead of the standard six months.

Haiti experienced relative calm after Preval's February election victory but since May, dozens of foreigners and Haitians have been kidnapped and gang fighting has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

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