Chile will keep its peacekeeping troops in Haiti until June at least, Chile's defense and foreign ministers told a press conference Sunday.
The ministers made the remarks after a meeting with Haitian president- elect, Rene Preval, who was in Chile to attend the inauguration ceremony for Chile's new president Michelle Bachelet.
"We already have permission from Congress to keep our troops in Haiti until June," said Defense Minister Vivianne Blanlot. However, she noted, the nature of Chile's participation in the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti had yet to be discussed.
Blanlot said Chile's forces, currently in Haiti as part of the UN peacekeeping force Minustah, would have an important role in rebuilding public order in the country.
"We are available to help train Haiti's police: something very much needed in peace time, but less important in wartime. This topic must be thoroughly discussed. All the possibilities are still open," she said.
Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley also pledged to continue supporting the efforts at stabilizing the situation in Haiti. He directed the attention of Chile's legislators to the distressing situation many Haitians were in, saying, "We are not going to turn our back on the nation which has the most problems and the worst poverty in Latin America."
Haiti has been plagued by gang violence since the 2004 overthrow of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.