WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro and U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) traveled to Haiti April 21, where they highlighted continued U.S. support for international peacekeeping efforts as the country continues to recover from the January 12 earthquake.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the United States deployed 22,000 personnel to support relief efforts as part of America’s commitment to providing urgently needed humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti in support of the Haitian Government and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Today, approximately 2,200 U.S. forces remain on the ground under the command of Joint Task Force ─ Haiti to support America’s disaster response and the UN-led relief effort.

After briefings on recovery efforts from U.S. Ambassador Kenneth H. Merten, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Carleene Dei, and Joint Task Force─ Haiti Response Coordinator Chris Milligan, Assistant Secretary Shapiro and General Fraser met with Brazilian Army Major General Luiz Paul Cruz, MINUSTAH Force Commander and the nine U.S. military officers serving as MINUSTAH staff officers.

More than 100 members of MINUSTAH staff, including senior mission leadership, were among the more than 220,000 people lost in the massive 7.0 earthquake ­ the biggest single loss of life in the history of UN peacekeeping. Despite these losses and displacement from mission headquarters, MINUSTAH has continued its mission of maintaining a secure and stable environment throughout Haiti. MINUSTAH continues supporting many nongovernmental organizations that operated in Haiti prior to the disaster through security for internally displaced persons, road clearance, rubble removal, and other vital tasks.

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has supported the development of peacekeeping capacity through its Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), an initiative launched in 2005 that has trained and equipped more than 110,000 foreign peacekeepers from around the world. In addition, over 78,000 troops from GPOI partner countries have deployed to 20 United Nations, African Union, and other regional peace support operations around the globe.

In Haiti, GPOI partners Bolivia, Guatemala, Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay are currently deploying military troops or formed police units in MINUSTAH. In addition, GPOI funds are providing equipment to a Rwandan peacekeeping unit. That unit will be deploying to MINUSTAH in the coming weeks.

For more information on GPOI, visit: .

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