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MINUSTAH calls for regional support

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The United Nations is calling for an increased regional effort to help Haiti counter the transnational criminal groups basing operations in the country.

The U.N. mission in Haiti, called MINUSTAH, has increased its presence in the country and has been working closely with Haitian security authorities to help stabilize the Caribbean nation. MINUSTAH officials are voicing concern over the ongoing cross-border threats from transnational criminal groups, the United Nations reported.

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MINUSTAH says lasting security in Haiti will be achieved only with support from neighboring countries, specifically in increasing information-sharing and coordinating security operations.

"Over the past year, MINUSTAH has launched with the Haitian authorities an additional effort that specifically seeks to improve security along the country's borders," Hedi Annabi, U.N. special representative, said in a statement.

"However, this basic presence cannot realistically respond to the cross-border threats."

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime recently cited the growing threat from Caribbean-based transnational groups smuggling illicit drugs to West African countries and then on to Europe.

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