PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Sources at the National Palace confirmed that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) leaders met privately with President Michel Martelly and lawmakers, offering to watch over Haiti's exotic beaches after its mandate expires in October.
"We have opened the doors to talks," said Mariano Fernandez Amunategui the head of MINUSTAH, a peacekeeping mission that has been in operation in Haiti since 2004. "As soon as our mandate ends, our forces are ready to help protect Haiti's coastline, notably its spectacular sandy beaches."
After they complete their mission, Amunategui said, the roughly 9,000 troops currently stationed in Port-au-Prince to maintain public order would be deployed to Haiti's seashores.
Moreover, Amunategui assured the administration that the beach scenery would not distract the soldiers from carrying out their important mission.
"Rest assured, we would be solely focus on the operations," said Amunategui who proposes to station troops in coastal towns like Jacmel and Labadee. "The mesmerizing turquoise blue ocean, the lush water vegetation and overall surreal picturesque beauty will not take our attention away from our assignment. I give you my word."
Many have expressed misgivings over the proposal, saying the MINUSTAH's offer is nothing less than a ploy by the peacekeepers to enjoy the country's serene beach strips on a daily basis. Amunategui was quick to deny the accusation, claiming the proposition was offered "entirely out of concern."
"We realize these regions are presently safe," said Amunategui who worries, however, that a lack of U.N. military presence on the shores may sooner or later boost instability. "But, as some of Haiti's vital attractions, we recommend not taking any chances."
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