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The Kenya-led multinational security mission to Haiti attracts more people and money

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

The slow-moving effort to deploy an armed multinational mission to help Haiti’s police force combat warring gangs has garnered an additional $120 million in commitments, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

The contributions, made during an international pledging conference hosted by the U.S., Brazil and the United Nations, come as the fate of the mission continues to be up in the air even as troops from the Bahamas Defense Force travel to Jamaica for training to prepare for the mission.

Kenyan officials this week abruptly canceled a video conference with their Haitian counterparts in which the two sides were expected to finalize a bilateral security-assistance protocol. The lack of mutual agreements between Kenya and Haiti has been at the crux of a Kenyan court ruling blocking the deployment of 1,000 police officers, who are supposed to serve as the backbone of the Kenya-led Multinational Security Support mission to Haiti.

Blinken said more than a dozen countries participated in the event, which took place Thursday on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Foreign ministers from the world’s 20 richest and developing countries met ahead of the group’s November summit. Each of the countries in attendance at the Haiti pledge session “is contributing or plans to contribute significantly” to the Multinational Security Support mission with personnel, equipment, training and financial resources, Blinken said.

“I think today we had at least another $120 million committed to that effort,” he said in a media availability after the meeting.

Among those offering up new pledges are Benin, Germany and Canada. A source familiar with Benin’s offer told The Miami Herald the French-speaking West African nation will contribute security personnel to the mission, which already has police or military officers from Jamaica, The Bahamas and other Caribbean and African nations. Meanwhile, Germany announced that it is pledging $5.41 million to the mission.

 

Canada Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said that Ottawa will allocate about $60 million — $80.5 million Canadian — to support the mission. The country also committed another $31.5 million for various security efforts to support Haiti. This includes helping U.N. agencies procure personal protective equipment, logistics and communication gear for the Haiti National Police, and to address justice and anti-corruption initiatives.

“Canada believes in Haitian-led solutions to the political, security and humanitarian crises and remains committed to working with Kenya and other international partners to support a successful deployment of the Multinational Security Support mission and ensure that our efforts are mutually reinforcing,” Joly said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce Canada’s support for these important projects that will contribute to pave the way to more meaningful interventions to protect the people of Haiti and encourage Haitian-led efforts to restore peace and prosperity in the country.”

The U.N. has set up a trust fund for contributions, and had already received a donation of about $3.23 million from France, which also provided almost $1 million for French-language training for the English-speaking Kenyans. U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed attended Thursday’s pledging session.

“We welcome the financial, personnel, and in-kind commitments announced by several member states during this event for the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. “We urge all member states to build on these positive developments and ensure that efforts are expedited towards a successful deployment of that support mission in the shortest possible time frame.”

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