May 23, 2024

President Joe Biden called on the United Nations Security Council to quickly pass a resolution that will authorize a multilateral force to deploy to Haiti as it battles armed gangs controlling much of its capital, Port-au-Prince, warning that time may be running out to act.

The Biden administration threw its support behind a multilateral force nearly a year ago at the request of the government of Haiti and the U.N. secretary general, Antonio Guterres. But U.S. officials struggled for months to find a country willing to step up and lead the coalition force, and still have yet to secure support for the proposal from China and Russia, two veto-wielding members of the Security Council.

Kenya said in recent weeks that it would consider leading the force, which has since been rebranded as a security support mission. But the precise nature of the force and which other countries would also participate remains unclear.

“On Haiti, the Caribbean communities facilitated a dialogue among Haitian society,” Biden said, addressing the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York. “I thank President Ruto of Kenya – I thank him for his willingness to serve as a lead nation of a U.N.-backed security support mission.”

“I call on the Security Council to authorize this mission now. The people of Haiti cannot wait much longer,” he added.

While U.S. officials had hoped for a Security Council vote on the resolution before the General Assembly, Beijing put negotiations on hold until after the summit.

Guterres also addressed the matter on Tuesday, noting that Haiti is “today overwhelmed by gang violence” and “still awaits international support.”

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