President Biden urges UN to authorize international security mission in Haiti

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 19: U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at U.N. headquarters on September 19, 2023 in New York City. World heads of state and representatives of government will attend amidst multiple global crises such as Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, and the climate emergency. Adam Gray/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Adam Gray / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

UNITED NATIONS, United States, Sept 19, 2023 (AFP) – US President Joe Biden urged the United Nations on Tuesday to authorize a multinational “security support mission” led by Kenya to deal with gangs in strife-torn Haiti.

“I call on the Security Council to authorize this mission now. The people of Haiti cannot wait much longer,” Biden told the UN General Assembly in New York.

Haitian authorities and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have been pleading for months for a deployment to the Caribbean country, which is sinking under compounding humanitarian, political and security crises that have overwhelmed its weak government and security forces.

Many countries have been hesitant to step in, partly out of fear of finding themselves in a bloody quagmire.

In late July, however, Kenya announced it was willing to head a multinational police intervention to train and assist the Haitian police, with Nairobi pledging 1,000 officers.

The mission would need a greenlight from the Security Council, even though it wouldn’t be deploying under the flag of the UN.

The Security Council began negotiations on the issue earlier this month.

More than 2,400 people have been killed in Haiti since the start of 2023 amid rampant gang violence, the UN said earlier this month.

Gangs control roughly 80 percent of the capital, and violent crimes have soared, including kidnappings for ransom, carjackings, rape and armed theft.