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Annan Visits Haiti, Calls for Strengthened Police as Crime Rises

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan begins a visit to Haiti Wednesday, to talk with political leaders about ways to improve security across the country.

The U.N. says Mr. Annan will meet with President Rene Preval, other top officials and members of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

The number of kidnappings by armed groups has started to surge after a period of calm following the election of Mr. Preval. The U.N. says trafficking in illegal drugs and weapons remains a major problem.

In a report to the Security Council Tuesday, Mr. Annan called for the U.N. police force in Haiti to be strengthened with experts in counterkidnapping and anti-gang operations to better support the Haitian National Police.

Following his visit to Haiti, Mr. Annan will travel to the Dominican Republic, where he is scheduled to meet with President Leonel Fernandez and members of the nation's Congress and Supreme Court.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .