US To UN–No Time To Lose On Haiti, Back Multinational Police Force Now.

- Advertisement -

The United States on Friday committed $65 million more in help for Haiti’s police and urged the U.N. Security Council to formally back the deployment of a non UN  multinational security mission to help the Caribbean country to take back the country from the rule of armed gangs. Kenya has already offered to lead the multinational force with 1,000 of its own cops.

Speaking at a meeting in New York to address the security situation in Haiti, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the mission, led by Kenya, could deploy “within months.”

“We really have no time to lose,” Blinken said.

Haiti last year asked for help to combat violent gangs that have largely overrun the capital Port-au-Prince. The council could vote as soon as next week, diplomats said, on a U.S.-drafted resolution supporting a multinational police deployment.

Haiti and Kenya established diplomatic relations on Wednesday, according to a statement on social media platform X by Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who is acting prime minister of the Caribbean nation.

The move comes amid international discussions over the possibility of Kenya leading a United Nations-backed multinational security force to help police fight escalating gang warfare in Haiti.

The United Nations Security Council could vote on the multinational force for Haiti in about a week, Brian Nichols, US assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs, said in an interview with Voice of America this week.

Henry’s government first sought international assistance last October, but despite repeated calls from the United Nations, the request went unanswered until Kenya said it was prepared to lead such a group in July.

While not providing any troops, Blinken said the Biden administration will work with the U.S. Congress to provide $100 million to back the multinational mission with logistical and financial assistance. This could include intelligence support, airlift, communications and medical support, he said.

The $65 million announced Friday will aim to bolster the Haitian police capacity to dismantle the gangs, Blinken said. The U.S. was also imposing new visa bans on former and current Haitian officials whom Blinken said were enabling the violence.

Washington supports Kenya’s vision for a three-part security mission that includes helping Haitian police, ensuring security for static installations and thoroughfares and strengthening law enforcement in the long term, Blinken said.

Kenyan President William Ruto told the General Assembly on Thursday: “We must not leave Haiti behind.”

Countries have been wary of supporting the unelected administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has said fair elections cannot be held with the current insecurity. Haiti has been without any elected representatives since January.

“My interim government is determined to hold elections as soon as practically possible,” Henry told the General Assembly on Friday, adding that security in Haiti had deteriorated to a “critical point” as “criminals feel that they are all powerful.”

“I am asking for help to allow Haitians to stay in their homes,” he said, again requesting “help to bolster the national police of Haiti so that it can truly respond to the challenges it faces” and for Security Council authorization for that help.

Haiti’s most powerful gang leader this week called for the armed overthrow of Henry, urging Haitians to take to the streets against the unelected government.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the council last month that a “robust use of force” by a multinational police deployment and the use of military assets were needed to restore law and order in Haiti and disarm gangs.

A multinational police deployment would not be a U.N. mission.

Sources: VOA, Reuters, BBC.
- Advertisement -