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Biden welcomes arrival of Kenyan troops

June 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, CMC – President Joe Biden has welcomed the arrival of the first batch of Kenyan troops to Haiti, saying it begins an effort that will bring much-needed relief to Haitians.

Kenya is spearheading the United Nations Security Council-sanctioned Multi-national Security Support (MSS) mission to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country that has been wracked with political, and socio-economic problems, highlighted by criminal violence ever since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

The Kenyans, who arrived in Port au Prince on Tuesday,  are expected to receive support from several other countries, including The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and Jamaica.

Its mandate is to assist Haitian police in securing key infrastructure and fighting criminal groups, which control nearly all the country’s capital and are responsible for widespread abuses.The United Nations has said that more than 2,500 people were killed or injured in the first three months of the year in Haiti and that the spike in violence has displaced more than half a million people.

Gangs now control at least 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince and key roads. Trapped outside the country as the international airport was closed, former prime minister Ariel Henry was forced to resign.

In a statement, President Biden said that rampant gang violence has killed or harmed thousands of children, women, and men.

“Over half a million people have been displaced. Gender-based violence is widespread. As gangs hinder access to critical supplies, nearly five million Haitians now face severe food insecurity.
”The people of Haiti deserve to feel safe in their homes, build better lives for their families, and enjoy democratic freedoms. Haiti’s future depends on the return to democratic governance. While these goals may not be accomplished overnight, this mission provides the best chance of achieving them,” Biden said.

He said the mission will support the Haitian National Police as they increase their anti-gang operations, build their capacity to maintain public safety, and ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.

He said the United States has worked with Kenya and other partners to integrate critically important accountability and oversight measures into the mission.

“I commend, and am deeply grateful to  all the countries that have pledged personnel and financial support to this mission that will grow to 2,500 multinational personnel,” Biden said, adding “for our part, the United States is this mission’s largest financial contributor, providing over US$300 million and up to $60 million in equipment.

“And we will continue our diplomatic outreach to encourage more countries to join this effort, because what happens in Haiti matters to its neighbors, the region, and the world.”

Biden described Haiti as “an extraordinary country” adding that “the people of Haiti deserve what people everywhere deserve: security, opportunity, and freedom. We are enriched by Haitian immigrants and Haitian Americans’ contributions.

“The United States has and will continue providing significant security, humanitarian, and economic development assistance, including my administration’s strong support for trade preferences with Haitii,” he added.

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