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US Marines land in Port-au-Prince
Updated: 2004-03-01 12:30

Marines arrived in the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince on Sunday night as the vanguard of an international security force, and the Pentagon said their mission included providing humanitarian assistance and protecting Americans.

The first contingent totaled fewer than 100 Marines and arrived by air, officials said, although the exact number was not disclosed.

¡°The plane has arrived,¡± said Navy Petty Officer Christopher Sherwood, a spokesman at U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which is running the U.S. military operation in Haiti.

More were to arrive on Monday, one senior defense official said on condition of anonymity.

The Marines¡¯ mission was five-fold, the defense official said.

To contribute to a secure environment in the capital, Port-Au-Prince, and to promote a constitutional political process in the wake of the resignation Sunday of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

To assist in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean nation.

To protect U.S. citizens in Haiti, as needed.

To facilitate the repatriation of Haitian migrants, who are aboard U.S. Coast Guard vessels.

To create the right condition for the anticipated arrival of a multinational security force.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously late Sunday to approve an international military force for three months to restore order in Haiti.

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