United Nations Security Council members arrived in Haiti on Friday for a three-day visit aimed at pressing the government to hold long-delayed elections in order to stem a mounting political crisis.
Envoys from the 15 member states of the international peace and security body are due to meet with President Michel Martelly and other government officials, as well as local UN representatives, political leaders and civil society.
“With this mission, the Security Council looks to … urge Haiti’s political actors to work cooperatively and without further delay to ensure the holding of free, fair, inclusive and transparent legislative, partial senatorial, municipal and local elections,” a statement from the UN’s MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission said.
The president has been ruling by decree since parliament was dissolved earlier this month, making him the sole leader of a country on edge, with sometimes violent opposition protests.
Haitians have been waiting for new elections for three years.
AFP / Hector Retamal
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (L) speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Haitian President Michel Martelly (R) and representatives of 15 member states of the UN Security Council, in Port-au-Prince, on January 23, 2015
Martelly has attempted to calm the situation by naming opposition figure Evans Paul as his prime minister and signing a deal to hold new elections by the end of this year.
On Thursday, the president said he was forming his fifth electoral council tasked with organizing elections since he came to power in May 2011.
The UN ambassadors visited MINUSTAH headquarters shortly after their arrival, and are due to tour various projects in the capital and elsewhere in the impoverished Caribbean nation still reeling from a devastating 2010 earthquake.
They are due to assess the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and the capabilities of the Haitian government, especially the national police.
In October, the council renewed MINUSTAH’s mandate for a year, but halved its force to 2,370 soldiers due to improved security conditions. The police force was maintained at 2,600 officers.