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Haitian President Martelly Delays Controversial Army Plan

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Haitian President Michel Martelly arrives on November 18, 2011, in Port-au-Prince to announce the reconstruction of the army. (Source: THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Haitian President Michel Martelly arrives on November 18, 2011, in Port-au-Prince to announce the reconstruction of the army. (Source: THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)

MIAMI (CBS4)- Haitian President Michel Martelly is delaying a controversial plan to reinstate the Haitian army, and is choosing instead to set up a special commission to decide.

Martelly said Friday that his decision to delay a presidential decree reestablishing the disbanded army was not a rejection of the idea, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported.

He said the commission will have 40 days to report back on the new army’s configuration and set a calendar for its reinstatement.

“Haiti must ensure the integrity of its territory and its national security,” Martelly said as he stood in the Champ de Mars, a public plaza turned sprawling tent city across from the broken presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. The return of the army had been one of his campaign promises.

There are mixed reactions to Martelly’s long-awaited decision. While some see it as bowing to strong international pressure against the idea, others say it may be a way to win over the United States and others who oppose the rebirth of the army.

Haiti’s disreputable military was dismissed in 1995 by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after he return from exile following a bloody 1991 military-led coup d’état, the Herald reported.

But the army, accused of human rights abuses, was never constitutionally dissolved and part of it was kept as a music band. Martelly can simply reinstate it as a real army with a decree.

martellyperformance Haitian President Martelly Delays Controversial Army Plan

Supporters of Haitian President Michel Martelly's decision to reinstate the army perform in front of the presidential palace on November 18, 2011 in Port-au-Prince. (Source: THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Read the full story here.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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