OTTAWA (AFP) – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (news – web sites) warned the world as he started a trip to Canada that a “band aid” effort to help violence-wracked Haiti will merely set the stage for a future political crisis.
Annan said current attempts to quell violence in the embattled Carribbean island needed to show stamina and patience.
His warning came as US Marines came under fire in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince and US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news – web sites) said Washington was trying to find a replacement for Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.
Annan Monday welcomed Canada’s commitment to send 450 troops to join French and US peacekeepers trying to restore order in Haiti after the ouster last month of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Ahead of meetings with new Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and other leaders, Annan also called on Canada and other nations to show a long-term commitment to rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure.
“This time around, I hope we, the international community, will have the stamina and the patience to stay for the long haul, because it’s going to take time; it’s going to take lots of hard work.”
“And we should not expect to do a band-aid for two years or so, and then turn around and leave, only to have to return,” Annan said in a television interview recorded before he arrived in Canada.
Annan is the first foreign dignitary Martin has hosted since he took office in December.
On Monday Annan was the guest at a state banquet hosted by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
Tuesday he is to address a joint meeting of Canada’s two houses of parliament, an honour normally reserved to visiting heads of state.
Minister for International Cooperation Aileen Carroll said Annan’s visit gave Canada the chance to highlight its support of the world body, particularly in the developing world.
A 13 million dollar (10 million US) chunk of the grant to the UN will help the World Health Organisation and UNICEF (news – web sites) immunize 250 million children this year in polio eradication campaigns in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan (news – web sites) and Egypt, Carroll said.
Five million dollars (3.7 million US) will back United Nations campaigns targeting the spread of AIDS (news – web sites), and help to alleviate the economic impact of the disease on the families of sufferes.
The grant will also support the UN University for Peace, the United Nations Capital Development Fund and the Millennium project.