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Home / News / US pledges further $100 mln to Haiti security mission

US pledges further $100 mln to Haiti security mission

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would contribute an additional $100 million (€91.5 million) to a United Nations-backed multinational security force intended to help Haitian police fight gangs and $33 million in humanitarian aid.

This brings the proposed US. contribution to the force to $300 million.

Less than $11 million had been deposited into the UN’s dedicated trust fund, a spokesperson for the world body said, with no new additions since 3 March when Haiti declared a state of emergency due to the worsening violence from gangs seeking to topple the government.

Mr Blinken, on a hastily arranged visit to Kingston, said this was a “critical moment” for Haiti and that he hoped “progress will be made.”

Gangs attacked critical infrastructure including two prisons allowing most of their 3,800 inmates to escape

US officials have been engaged in talks involving Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states and members of Haiti’s political parties, private sector, civil society and religious groups aimed at establishing a transitional council that would pave the way to the first elections since 2016.

Haiti declared a state of emergency early this month as clashes damaged communications and led to two prison breaks after Jimmy “Barbeque” Cherizier, a leader of an alliance of armed groups, said they would unite and overthrow Haiti’s unelected Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Mr Henry, who came to power after the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s last president but is stranded outside of the country, was in virtual discussions with CARICOM, a State Department official said. His political allies also were taking part in the in-person talks in Kingston, the official said.

Jimmy “Barbeque” Cherizier pictured with his men in Port-au-Prince

Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Haitian “stakeholders’ ‘ had largely agreed that a presidential council should be urgently installed to identify a prime minister, who would together with the council establish a government.

A provisional electoral council should also be established excluding those who would be involved in future elections, Ms Mottley added at a news conference.

The United Nations estimates that over 362,000 people have been internally displaced, half of whom are children, and thousands have been killed in the overall conflict in Haiti, with widespread reports of rape, torture and ransom kidnappings since 2021.

Gangs are seeking the resignation of Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US was looking to expedite the deployment of a multinational security mission, to be led by Kenya, intended to restore security to Haiti, it said.

Countries have been slow to offer support for the multinational force, with some raising doubts over the legitimacy of Mr Henry’s unelected government amid widespread protests.

Mike Ballard, intelligence director at security firm Global Guardian, said if gangs completely take control of ports and airports, they would be in charge of humanitarian aid to the country, adding he did not believe Kenyan forces would effectively police or maintain peace.

“Countries with actual stakes in the region will need to step up and help shore up security,” he said, pointing to the United States, neighbouring Dominican Republic and other CARICOM members.

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