U.S. diplomatic chief Antony Blinken said Thursday that the international community was still considering sending a force to gang-ridden Haiti and that the topic would be raised during President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada.
The U.S. government has said it will continue to work with the international community to ensure that the country’s security is maintained.
“There’s been discussion of some kind of multinational force at the United Nations,” Blinken told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, “a discussion that we’re actively participating in.”
US ready to support, but not lead, a multinational force
He added that President Biden would also discuss the issue with the Canadian government when he travels to Ottawa on Thursday night for an official visit that will include talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The two North American heads will continue the discussions to see what they can do together as well as with other countries, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the region to support that, Blinken said.
The idea of a multinational police or security force to help Haiti, ravaged by a political, security and economic crisis, has been under discussion for months but has not yet come to fruition. It had been mooted as early as last autumn, at the time as a matter of urgency.
The United States has said it is ready to support such a force but not to lead it.
Snipers have killed about 530 people in Haiti
Sending a foreign force stirs painful memories for Haitians. The country has already received US, French and Canadian troops, as well as UN missions — one of which brought cholera, causing an epidemic that killed more than 10,000 persons.
About 530 people have been killed, many by snipers, and nearly 280 kidnapped by gangs that operate with impunity in Haiti, the UN said onTuesday, calling for the deployment of a dedicated support force.
Nearly half of Haiti’s population, or 4.9 million people, are struggling to feed themselves, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday.