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US reiterates support for a Haiti deployment as it meets with Caribbean leaders

US reiterates support for a Haiti deployment as it meets with Caribbean leaders

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — The U.S. government on Monday reiterated its support to help restore peace and calm to Haiti, saying it will provide money, equipment and logistical support to a multinational force whose deployment remains uncertain.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is in Guyana for a Caribbean summit this week, said the U.S. is playing its part in rallying global support for a U.N.-backed Kenyan police force. She noted the U.S. government already has pledged $200 million and will work with stakeholders on restoring peace ahead of general elections that have yet to be held.

She said deployment of the force is urgent to help Haitian National Police “restore peace and security” as she called on opposition parties demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry to sit together and discuss a political solution.

“The people, they need certainty,” she said, noting that women in Haiti fear venturing out even to attend church services given the country’s growing insecurity.

Gang violence has surged across Haiti, with more than 8,400 people reported killed, injured or kidnapped overall last year, more than double the number reported in 2022.

In addition, more than 310,000 people have been left homeless as gangs estimated to control up to 80% of the capital of Port-au-Prince keep warring over territory.

Kenya agreed to lead a multinational force to Haiti that was authorized by the U.N. Security Council last October. However, it’s unclear when or if a deployment would occur under the current plans. A court in Kenya ruled last month that the deployment is unconstitutional, though the East African nation’s government has said it is appealing the ruling

Thomas-Greenfield welcomed reports that the West African nation of Benin has offered to send 2,000 troops to join the proposed deployment to Haiti, adding that Caricom leaders stressed the need for more French-speaking forces.

The Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica, which are members of a regional trade bloc known as Caricom, already have offered to send troops and police officers. Meanwhile, the South American country of Guyana, which is hosting the four-day Caricom summit, has promised to donate money to the effort.

Thomas-Greenfield spoke after meeting with Caribbean leaders behind closed doors early Monday to talk about Haiti. It wasn’t immediately known what exactly was discussed. Regional leaders who attended were not immediately available for comment.

By BERT WILKINSON/Associated Press

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