Blinken rallies support for Haiti security mission in Brazil

By Thomson Reuters Feb 22, 2024 | 1:32 PM

By Simon Lewis

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Canada, Benin, France and Jamaica have offered support to a U.N.-backed international security force aimed at tackling rampant gang violence in Haiti, according to a statement from the United States, which co-hosted a meeting on the mission with Brazil.

Washington has pledged $200 million to fund the Multinational Security Support (MSS), which Kenya stepped forward to lead last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gathered officials in Rio de Janeiro, where foreign ministers of the G20 group of developed nations are meeting this week, and urged support for the initiative.

“We need to do more to help the Haitian national police stabilize the security situation now so that aid can actually flow in effectively and get to people who need it, so that Haitians don’t have to live in terror of gangs, and so that Haiti returns fully and strongly to a democratic path,” Blinken said at the opening of the meeting.

A U.S. statement said Canada, Benin, France and Jamaica “announced financial, personnel, and in-kind commitments to the mission” during Thursday’s meeting.

The United Nations Security Council authorized the mission in October, a year after the Caribbean country asked for help to fight violent gangs that have largely overrun its capital Port-au-Prince. Gang violence killed nearly 5,000 people in Haiti last year.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)