Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry speaks during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 22 September 2023. EFE/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

Multinational security mission for Haiti gains support at UN

United Nations, Sept 22 (EFE).- A multinational security mission to help the Haitian police, requested by the Haitian government itself, is gaining more and more concrete multilateral support. A vote in the Security Council could take place as early as next week.

“So the next step is a UN Security Council resolution blessing this mission under Chapter 7 authority,” explained United States Deputy Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nulan at a press conference in New York on Friday.

The US and Ecuador have been working on a resolution for Haiti for some time.

“There was very strong support in the room from everybody for the UN Security Council resolution,” she added.

Earlier, during a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Washington had pledged up to $100 million to support the future mission.

He also announced that the US would provide an additional $65 million to professionalize the Haitian police.

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

The head of US diplomacy also announced visa restrictions on five Haitian officials and ex-officials linked to the criminal gangs ravaging the country.

So far, only Kenya has officially pledged to send 1,000 uniformed personnel to support the mission. During Friday’s meeting, countries such as Jamaica and Barbados also pledged to contribute personnel, Blinken confirmed.

Spain and Mexico are on board

Diplomatic officials from Spain and Mexico have also pledged to participate in the mission in one way or another.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told a press conference on Friday that his country would be one of the Western participants in the mission (along with France, the United States and Canada, he said) and was waiting for the Security Council meeting to finalize its contributions.

Albares explained that the mission will probably last for years because it is about “providing security and saving the country from the gangs,” noting that Spain is “one of the biggest donors” to Haiti.

Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena, for her part, said in a press appearance at the UN that although her country cannot legally send troops to Haiti, it is training hundreds of Haitian police on its own territory. It has already trained 550 and is in the process of training another 110.

Calls from Haiti

The Haitian government itself has been calling for months for an international UN mission to assist its police, who are overwhelmed by the extreme violence.

The UN has insisted that this mission will not resemble a peacekeeping force, but will be a strictly police support force under the orders of the country’s police.

In his address to the General Assembly on Friday, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry made an impassioned plea for international cooperation to address the country’s “security problem,” which he said was his government’s “top priority.”

“The Security Council must take urgent action by authorizing the deployment of a multinational support mission composed of military and security personnel,” said the Haitian, for whom “the use of force as a first step is essential.”

But it is not the only necessary step, Henry said, pointing to “extreme poverty” as the source of all the ills of the Haitian people, as it leads many young people to be “tempted” to join armed gangs.EFE