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UN Security Council Appeals for Calm in Haiti

The U.N. Security Council has issued an appeal for calm in Haiti while results of last week's elections are finalized.

A statement unanimously approved by the Security Council commends Haitians for the commitment to democracy shown in the high voter turnout in last Tuesday's elections. But the statement, read by U.S. Ambassador John Bolton in his capacity as Security Council president for February, encouraged all parties to be calm as the votes are counted.

"The members of the council express their expectation that the counting of ballots and the remaining steps in the electoral process mandated by Haitian law will continue to be transparent and meet international standards," he said. "They strongly urge all parties to respect the results of the election and refrain from violence."

Ambassador Bolton said the council issued the appeal for calm after reports post-election unrest had led to at least one death in Port-au-Prince.

"I think the reason we took the step of issuing this press statement was because of the events of yesterday and because of our desire to maintain order and calm as the electoral process continues to unfold," he said. "That is why we have called on Haiti's political leaders to help in that effort, and we think the interim government and the international authorities are working hard to get the results made final, and we urge calm until that can take place."

In a related development Tuesday, the Security Council extended the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti for six months.

The extension came a day after U.N. troops clashed with demonstrators in Port-au-Prince. Witnesses were quoted as saying the peacekeepers opened fire, killing a protester. But U.N. spokesmen denied the accusation, saying the blue-helmeted peacekeepers fired only warning shots in the air.