22 November 2004 The security situation in Haiti has deteriorated over the past three months with a surge of violence, underlining the need to remove all illegal weapons from the streets, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the impoverished Caribbean country.
"I appeal to all armed groups to break this cycle of violence in order not to endanger further the transition process under way," Mr. Annan says in the report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), set up in April to help foster a democratic political solution after widespread unrest led to the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide the previous month.
He urges the Security Council to extend the Mission's mandate for a further 18 months, until 31 May 2006, in view of the timeline established for a series of elections culminating with the transfer of power to an elected president on 7 February that year.
Mr. Annan stresses the need for an inclusive political process to go hand in hand with an improvement in the security situation. "Without a parallel political process which involves all segments of society, not sustainable peace and security will be achieved," he writes.
And he emphasizes the need to underwrite the transition with a job creation programme. "A political process without job creation or longer-term development is not credible for a population which has been living in severe poverty for such a long time," he says.
"MINUSTAH remains committed to mobilizing resources for projects which make an immediate difference in the lives of the people," he adds.
Mr. Annan regrets that the disbursement of donor funds gas been slow in coming, due in part to the increased instability in Haiti.
Latest figures show that more than two thirds of MINUSTAH's authorized strength of 6,700 soldiers and 1,622 civil police are already on the ground.