by Staff Writers
Montevideo (AFP) Oct 29, 2013
Uruguay's President Jose Mujica said Tuesday he plans to withdraw his country's peacekeeping troops from Haiti because of the lack of democratic progress there.
Mujica noted delays in convening Senate elections and a general "political impasse in Haitian society."
"They were supposed to have called elections to the Senate a while ago. We see it going very slowly, we see nothing happening," he said on the Telenoche de Uruguay news program.
"One thing is to try to help the Haitian people build a police force that is in charge of security. That's fine.
"Another thing is being there indefinitely with a regime that we think is at least dubious in terms of a continuity of democratic renewal," he said.
Asked if he would withdraw the 850-strong Uruguayan contingent in the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti, Mujica said, "Yes, I think so."
Mujica did not offer a timetable for a withdrawal but said it would be gradual and co-ordinated with Brazil, which leads the UN force.
The UN Security Council in October said it was reducing the size of the force, which has been on the ground since 2004, to 5,021 soldiers, from 6,233. Brazil began reducing the size of its contingent in March.
Four Uruguayan sailors were detained in September 2012 on charges of assaulting a Haitian man in 2011. Sexual assault allegations were later thrown out.
Uruguay has contributed almost 1,000 soldiers to the United Nations mission in Haiti, the biggest contingent.
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