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Haiti leader set to announce launch of new army
by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Nov 17, 2011

Haitian President Michel Martelly is expected on Friday to announce the restoration of the country's army, which was disbanded in the mid-1990s, a parliamentary source told AFP.

"The presidential announcement expected on November 18 should focus exclusively on the revocation of the decision made 17 years ago by ex-president (Jean-Bertrand) Aristide," the source said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A presidential spokesman said recently that Martelly would make a formal announcement about Haiti's armed forces, but gave no further details.

Haiti's military was dissolved by then-president Aristide after he returned to power in 1994, following decades of political turmoil and multiple coups.

Since 2004, Haiti has become reliant on a UN stabilization mission, MINUSTAH, which was authorized to disarm and demobilize remaining militias.

Martelly, who took office earlier this year, has said he wants to create a "modern army" as the violence-prone Caribbean nation cannot rely on UN peacekeepers forever for its security.

The new security force would focus on the quake-hit nation's reconstruction and wouldn't need "warships or fighter jets" as Haiti is not going to war with other nations, Martelly said in April.

"It needs to be a modern army, have an engineering core, and will be ready to intervene" in times of chaos and catastrophe, such as after earthquakes or hurricanes, Martelly explained.

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