The United States has launched a review of all 16 peacekeeping missions to assess costs and effectiveness, and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that Haiti is "a success story when it comes to drawing down a peacekeeping mission".
The Security Council adopted the Resolution 2250 unanimously Thursday, a resolution that extends the work of the Minustah for six months more, to end it in October of this year, and activate the so-called Mission of Support to Justice in Haiti (Minujusth). While Russia had some concerns about spelling out when the successor mission could use force, diplomats said those issues were likely to be overcome. "We strongly support the ending of this mission turning it into something else. We are convinced that the situation remains quite tenuous".
MINUSTAH was deployed in 2004 after the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to help stem political violence but it has not endeared itself to Haitians. A 2004 rebellion had the country on the brink of collapse, leading to deployment of the United Nations force, and Haiti has been trying to get its shaky democracy on a firmer foundation ever since.
FILE - Cholera survivors protest the United Nations peacekeeping mission outside U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 15, 2015.
Honoré said a six-month extension to MINUSTAH, set to expire on Saturday, would encompass a drawdown and the creation of the new mission, which would unfold against a backdrop of a significantly improved political outlook.
The peacekeeping mission, one of the longest-running in the world and known as MINUSTAH, has been dogged by controversies, including the introduction of cholera to the island and sexual abuse claims. But the country has not had an armed conflict in years. United Nations troops from Nepal are widely blamed for introducing cholera that has killed at least 9,500 people in Haiti since 2010. Haiti was free of cholera until 2010 when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.
The UN does not accept legal responsibility for the outbreak of the disease, which causes uncontrollable diarrhea. Some 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 have fallen ill.
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said he expected more cuts and closures of peacekeeping operations.
"At the same time, we hope that the global community will provide more assistance to help hurricane stricken areas in Haiti to build", he said.
With the Council's support, a joint transition plan would guide the handover, underpinning the gradual transfer of tasks to the Government, the worldwide presence and the United Nations country team, thereby paving the way for the closure of the peacekeeping chapter in Haiti.