Fri | Dec 1, 2023

US pledges $100M to back proposed Kenyan-led multinational force to Haiti

Published:Friday | September 22, 2023 | 7:06 PM
Armed members of "G9 and Family" march in a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, September 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration pledged $100 million on Friday to support a proposed Kenyan-led multinational force to restore security to conflict-ravaged Haiti and urged other nations to make similar contributions.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US would provide logistics, including intelligence, airlift, communications and medical support to the mission, which still needs to be approved by the UN Security Council.

Other than Kenya, which would head the operation, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda have pledged to deploy personnel.

Blinken urged the international community to pledge additional personnel as well as equipment, logistics, training and funding for the effort to be successful.

“The people of Haiti cannot wait much longer,” he told foreign minister colleagues from more than 20 countries that have expressed support for the mission.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry echoed Blinken's urgency, telling the UN General Assembly on Friday that police and military personnel are needed, and that the use of force “remains essential to create an environment in which the state can function again.”

He noted that crimes committed by gangs include “kidnapping, pillaging, fires, the recent massacres, sexual and sexist violence, organ trafficking, human trafficking, homicides, extrajudicial executions, the recruitment of child soldiers (and) the blocking of main roads.”

“Democracy is at peril. Our country needs a return to normalcy,” Henry said.

Blinken said it was imperative for the Security Council to authorise the mission to Haiti as quickly as possible so the force could be operational in the next several months.

He stressed, however, that international assistance could be only one part of Haiti's recovery from years of corruption, lawlessness, gang violence and political chaos.

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