, PORT AU PRINCE, Jan 24- United Nations Security Council members arrived in Haiti for a three day visit to urge the government to hold long-delayed elections in order to stem a mounting political crisis.
Envoys from the 15 member states of the international peace and security body met with President Michel Martelly and were due to see other government officials, as well as local UN representatives, political leaders and civil society.
“With this mission, the Security Council looks to urge Haiti’s political actors to work cooperatively and without further delay to ensure the holding of free, fair, inclusive and transparent legislative, partial senatorial, municipal and local elections,” a statement from the UN’s MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission said.
The president has been ruling by decree since parliament was dissolved earlier this month, making him the sole leader of a country on edge, with sometimes violent opposition protests.
Haitians have been waiting for new elections for three years.
After meeting with the UN envoys, Martelly said he was committed to the democratic process and pledged to stage lawful elections.
He promised dialogue with national political actors to “create a favorable climate for democratic, inclusive, free and transparent elections, without forgetting the fundamental objective of developing the country’s economy.”
Martelly has attempted to calm the situation by naming opposition figure Evans Paul as his prime minister and signing a deal to hold new elections by the end of this year.
On Thursday, the president said he was forming his fifth electoral council tasked with organizing elections since he came to power in May 2011.
The UN ambassadors visited MINUSTAH headquarters shortly after their arrival, and were due to tour various projects in the capital and elsewhere in the impoverished Caribbean nation still reeling from a devastating 2010 earthquake.
They were also due to assess the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and the capabilities of the Haitian government, especially the national police.
In October, the council renewed MINUSTAH’s mandate for a year, but halved its force to 2,370 soldiers due to improved security conditions. The police force was maintained at 2,600 officers.