ACCESSION NUMBER:374894 FILE ID:LEF206 DATE:01/17/95 TITLE:U.S. GENERAL HAILS WORLD EFFORT TO HELP HAITI (01/17/95) TEXT:*95011706.PFL *LEF206 01/17/95 U.S. GENERAL HAILS WORLD EFFORT TO HELP HAITI TR95011706 (Safe and secure environment exists)+bc (560) By Bruce Carey USIA Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- The spirit of international cooperation is saving the democratic future of Haiti, says Marine Corps Gen. John Sheehan, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command. Sheehan is the overall commander of U.S. forces that preceeded the multinational force now in Haiti and of U.S. troops that continue to serve with that force. He told reporters in Port-au-Prince, Buenos Aires, Tegucigalpa, Amman, and Cotonou in a USIA Worldnet broadcast Jan. 17 that the mission to restore democracy is succeeding in Haiti because the world community decided to participate. "The process of restoring democracy is well on its way," he said. "Violence 1s down. There are no weapons on the street. "It is a safe and secure environment. Commerce is being conducted. There is free movement in the streets," the general noted. The multinational force in Haiti is set to be relieved by March, once the United Nations declares that a "safe and secure environment" exists for movement into the country of U.N. forces. The successful effort to create that environment "speaks legions to this concept of internationalism in problem solving," said Sheehan. "Now it is up to the international community to invest in Haiti," he said. "The international community must respond" to crises such as that in Haiti and Rwanda," he asserted. "It is going to take a policy of engagement by the international community" for such future efforts to succeed. The U.N. force will be about 6,000 strong, including about 2,400 Americans, and is expected to remain until about March 1996. "U.S. particiation in multinational forces under U.N. mandates will continue," he predicted. Sheehan said the best test of the effort in Haiti will be whether President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's successor makes a peaceful transition into office after next year's elections. "That is when you really will know that democracy has taken hold in Haiti," said the general. "Reconciliation is the key" to continued progress toward rebuilding Haiti. In the meantime, "it is incumbent on everybody to remain vigilant" against anti-democratic forces. "That is why the reconciliation process is so important, because there is a small segment of that population that still resorts to intimidation and the use of force," he said. Any effort to disarm recalcitrant factions during the transition "has to be based on intelligence, not a house-to-house search" that would violate the rights of Haitian citizens, Sheehan said, adding that it is the Haitians themselves who must keep order. He said international forces are there only to maintain political stability in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 940. "They are the first ones to go to resolve this problem. The international police monitors, the multinational force, and the U.N. force are really there to encourage the Haitians to solve their own problem," he said. "The real future is in economic recovery putting the Haitian people back to work with dignity in a democratic process," said the general. "The international community will only stay engaged as long as the environment in Haiti is good enough for them to continue to invest in Haiti." NNNN .