The multilateral South American organization UNASUR announced Friday that its members planned to begin pulling troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by its acronym Minustah. "There's consensus for a gradual withdrawal of troops, consistent with Haiti's needs," Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim told the press after the body met in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Amorim's words carry weight. South America contributes the most peacekeepers to Minustah's 12,000-strong mission, and Brazil leads its forces. But while the announcement may seem to mark the beginning of Minustah's withdrawal, the mission is far from over.
In fact, the Minustah mission is not yet even in the process of winding down, according to Edmond Mulet, head of U.N. peacekeeping operations. Instead, the 15 percent reduction of peacekeeping troops that Amorim has called for without specifying a timetable will bring Brazil's troop commitment back to levels comparable to the period before the January 2010 earthquake.