The United States remains active in its search for a country to lead a multinational force in troubled Haiti, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday, without offering Washington’s example.
Blinken met Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry at a Caribbean summit on Wednesday and spoke again about the urgency of an international force in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where gangs have taken control. large tracts of land.
But no country has stepped forward despite nearly a year of calls for force by Henry and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“We are in very active conversations with countries in the region and beyond about such a force and we are in active conversations, of course, at the United Nations about what it could do to give a forces the appropriate imprimatur from the international community,” Blinken told reporters in Guyana, his second stop on a regional tour.
“Part of that involves making sure countries step in to play important roles in such a force, particularly identifying a country that would play a lead nation role,” Blinken said.
But he declined to offer such a role to the United States, which has a long history of intervention in Haiti, and instead reiterated American support for building Haiti’s fledgling national police.
US President Joe Biden – who ended America’s longest war in Afghanistan – has made it clear that he has no intention of putting US troops in danger in Haiti.
Blinken met Henry at the Caribbean summit in Trinidad and Tobago, where the top US diplomat also called for increased efforts to hold elections in Haiti.
Haitians have not voted since 2016, with the last elected president, Jovenel Moise, assassinated in July 2021. Henry has vowed to step down after a new government is installed in February 2024, although electoral goals have slipped several times in Haiti.
Speaking next to Blinken, Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said there was progress on Haiti at the Caribbean summit, with Kenya and Rwanda – whose president Paul Kagame was present – offering support. to police forces.
A group of former leaders, including former prime ministers Bruce Golding of Jamaica and Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, have agreed to work with Henry and other Haitian stakeholders on a political transition, Ali said.
“Prime Minister Henry is committed to expanding this transitional government,” Ali said.