The Interim Government of Haiti today began paying former soldiers who have since demobilized following on agreements reached during talks supported by the United Nations mission in the country (MINUSTAH).
During two meetings held in Les Cayes and in Cap Haïtien on Monday, both the ministers and the former combatants present agreed that a decision on reconstituting the army, which was broken up in 1994 by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, would have to be taken by elected politicians following balloting. President Aristide left amid political turmoil in February.
The members of the former Haitian armed forces (ex-FAD'H) set forth their requests, including back pay and pension benefits. Government officials, who called the meeting, affirmed their will to address key concerns, and today sent the first cheques to demilitarized soldiers who participated in the UN-run disarmament process.
MINUSTAH supported the Government's action and provided logistical support to the meeting, including two helicopters for transportation, in the framework of its mandate.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his latest report to the Security Council on Haiti, welcomed initiatives to reintegrate into society the demobilized military "whose actions constitute a challenge to the authority of the State."