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United States seeks leader for multinational force in Haiti, States Secretary of State Blinken

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the United States is actively engaged in the search for a leading country to head a multinational force in Haiti. Despite the urgency expressed by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over the past year, no country has yet come forward to take on this critical role in the troubled nation.

Blinken, who recently met with Prime Minister Henry at a Caribbean summit in Trinidad and Tobago, reiterated the pressing need for an international force in Haiti. Gangs have gained control over large portions of the country, posing a significant threat to stability. The United States is currently involved in discussions with various countries within and beyond the region, exploring their potential participation in the force.

During the press conference held in Guyana, the second stop on his regional tour, Blinken emphasized the importance of identifying a country that would assume a leading role in the multinational force. However, he did not specify whether the United States would take on that responsibility. Given the historical involvement of the US in Haiti, Blinken underscored the US’s commitment to supporting the development of Haiti’s national police instead.

President Joe Biden, having recently concluded America’s longest war in Afghanistan, has made it clear that he does not intend to put US troops at risk in Haiti. Consequently, the search for a leading nation to spearhead the multinational force remains ongoing.

In addition to discussing the security situation, Blinken also stressed the need for renewed efforts to hold elections in Haiti. The country has not conducted elections since 2016, and the assassination of the last elected president, Jovenel Moise, in July 2021 has further compounded the political crisis. Prime Minister Henry has pledged to step down after the installation of a new government in February 2024, although the timeline for elections has experienced repeated delays.

President Irfaan Ali of Guyana, speaking alongside Blinken, expressed positive developments regarding Haiti at the Caribbean summit. Kenya and Rwanda, represented by President Paul Kagame, offered their support for the Haitian police force. Moreover, a group of former leaders, including former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and former Saint Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, committed to collaborating with Prime Minister Henry and other stakeholders in Haiti to facilitate a smooth political transition.

President Ali commended Prime Minister Henry’s commitment to expanding the transitional government, highlighting the collective effort among regional and international partners to address Haiti’s challenges.

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