April 17, 2024

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Crisis in Haiti: US urges speed in appointing new prime minister after Ariel Henry resigns

Crisis in Haiti: US urges speed in appointing new prime minister after Ariel Henry resigns
North American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks with Guyana's President Irfan Ali and Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness during an emergency meeting on Haiti at the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Kingston, Jamaica (REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy)

The US government said on Tuesday it hoped a new Haitian prime minister would be appointed “Without further delay” will happen After Ariel Henry announced his resignation following the escalation of violence in the country.

“I don't know when that will be, but we hope it will happen without further delay.”State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Tuesday.

Henry's departure is effective An “Interim Presidential Council” was formedThat should happen in the next 24 or 48 hours, according to Miller, and he will agree to appoint a new prime minister.

This resolution was passed on Monday At the CARICOM meeting in Jamaica Along with representatives from other international partners such as the United States and France, the UN

Henry, who has ruled on an interim basis since July 2021 after the assassination of President Jovenel Moss, did not attend the meeting.

Still the prime minister remains in Puerto Rico, where he has been stranded for a week amid rising violence in Haiti and pressure to resign.

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henri has resigned amid rising violence on the island and pressure from criminal gangs (Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti via X/Handout via REUTERS)

A US diplomatic spokesperson further noted Kenya's decision to postpone sending 1,000 police officers to Haiti To lead a UN-sanctioned international mission due to the power vacuum created.

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The African country has offered to lead an international mission Funded by the United States and Canada, it aims to bring stability to Haiti, where armed gangs have taken over much of the country.

Following a domestic court challenge, Kenya said it was sending the troops as part of a mutual agreement with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

However, Henry agreed to resign on Monday as part of an agreement to form an interim presidential council to form a new US-backed government.

“I would be concerned about any delay, but we don't think it will be necessary,” Miller said. “It is quite natural (for Kenya) to want to know that there is a government that can welcome them and ask them to undertake a mission.”

“But as I said, we believe these are actions that will be taken in the very near future and will pave the way for this work to move forward without delay,” the North American spokesperson added.

Ariel Henry (Richard Pierrin / AFP via Getty Images) Kenya will delay sending its police to Haiti after it resigned.

Korir Singh'oi, the Kenyan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, noted his government's decision: “There has been a fundamental change in circumstances as a result of the Prime Minister's resignation.” And I add: “Without a political administration in Haiti, there is no anchor for a police deployment.”The government (Kenya) will therefore wait to make further decisions on the matter until a new constitutional authority is established in Haiti.

However, Kenya reiterates its commitment to provide leadership to the MSS (Multinational Security Support Mission) in the Caribbean island,” Sing'oei stressed.

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The international community is redoubling efforts to help Haiti, The humanitarian situation on the island is even more alarming.

It has resulted in a consolidation of crises that engulfs the country 1.4 million people “one step away from starvation”According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), it has warned that its supplies are dwindling due to lack of access and problems that have created insecurity for all kinds of movements.

Haiti already has “one of the world's most severe food crises”, emphasized Jean-Martin Bauer, head of WFP in Haiti. The agency has distributed aid to nearly 300,000 people in the first ten days of March, but the sharp deterioration of the situation complicates any forecast, with the number of displaced people continuing to rise, among others, already exceeding 360,000.

The Caribbean country is waiting to send in an international mission to control armed groups, but the WFP recalls that hunger could prevent any progress in security. “Haiti needs more than sending troops,” said Cindy McCain, the organization's executive director.

The UN has warned that nearly a million and a half Haitians are on the brink of famine amid escalating violence and political crisis (AP Photo/Odeline Joseph)

“Efforts to restore law and order must be accompanied by an equally effective humanitarian response that responds to growing needs,” he explained in a message to the international community, stressing that WFP needs “greater” funding. This “forgotten crisis”.

“Our humanitarian operation in Haiti is coming to an end and we will run out of funds for hot meals in two weeks. “We need donors to step up so we can stem the tide of hunger and stop the slide toward chaos,” McCain said.

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For his part, the UN Antonio GutierrezHe called on all parties to act “responsibly” and move towards agreements that would allow the impoverished Caribbean country to “restore its democratic institutions”.

To do this, “peaceful, credible, participatory and inclusive elections” are needed, the secretary-general's spokesman said in a statement, a day after Henry announced in a speech that he was leaving office to pave the way for the constitution of a presidential council. and the appointment of an interim prime minister.

Police officers patrol as Haiti continues a state of emergency due to violence in Port-au-Prince (REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol)

Guterres expressed particular recognition for international actors who have “facilitated a way out” of the current political crisis, among them the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The UN, meanwhile, remains committed to “continuing to support Haiti on its path to elections.”, after years marked by an institutional vacuum, particularly following the assassination of Moises. Guterres took the opportunity to reiterate his “unbreakable solidarity” with the Haitian people, appealing for their right to live “in dignity” with minimal conditions.

Henry's resignation was demanded by one of the leaders of armed gangs that have taken control of parts of Haiti, including the capital Port-au-Prince, to end a wave of violence that has displaced more than 15,000 Haitians to date. houses.

Violence in the capital has increased significantly since it emerged in late February that Henry had pledged to hold elections by the end of August 2025, assuming his term would have ended on February 7.

(With information from EFE and Europa Press)