Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a High-Level Meeting on Haiti

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. President, thank you.  Thank you for your leadership today, but thank you for your leadership every day, along with Prime Minister Holness for bringing us together today, all of the CARICOM heads of government for organizing the meeting, but also – and more important – for the sustained commitment that we’ve seen from everyone from around this table and people beyond this table to helping Haiti and its people in what is an extraordinarily difficult time.  And both the president and the prime minister have very eloquently shared what that challenge is for the people of Haiti.

That’s what brings us together today: a political crisis, escalating violence, unrest.  This has created an untenable situation for the Haitian people.  And we all know that urgent action is needed on both the political and security tracks to help move things in a better direction, to help do right by the people of Haiti.

We’re here in Kingston today to listen – to listen to your ideas, but also to provide our concrete support for the way forward, and in particular, the joint proposal that was developed by CARICOM and all of the Haitian stakeholders to expedite a political transition.  We support the plan to create a broad-based, inclusive, independent presidential college that would, in particular, first, take concrete steps to meet the immediate needs of the Haitian people; second, enable the swift deployment of the Multinational Security Support Mission; and third, through that deployment, through a reinforced Haitian National Police, create the security conditions that are necessary to hold free and fair elections, to allow humanitarian assistance to get to people who need it, and to help put Haiti back on a path to economic opportunity and growth.

Now, we’ve spent the day – and in fact, the last several days – in intense conversations on the phone, by video conference, here in Kingston to work this path forward – one that, as you’ve heard from both the president and the prime minister, is Haitian-led, Haitian-conceived, but with the critical support of countries around this table.

Today’s work that I’m also confident, along with my colleagues, is now sketching that path forward is an opportunity to continue the work toward consensus on an enduring, inclusive, and representative transition.

What we’ve seen in recent days, again, should remind us that the already challenging and difficult security situation has now deteriorated even further and makes the Multinational Support Mission even more important than ever.  The United Nations Security Council has reaffirmed that and reaffirmed a collective commitment to deploy it as quickly as possible.

Given this increasingly urgent need, I’m announcing today that the United States Department of Defense is doubling its approved support for the mission from $100 million to $200 million, and that brings the total U.S. support – (applause) – to $300 million for this effort.  I’m also announcing additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Haiti: $33 million to further support their health and food security.

Now, all of us know that only the Haitian people can, only the Haitian people should determine their own future – not anyone else.  But all of us here – CARICOM, the United States, our other partners – we can help.  We can help restore a foundation of security that can address the tremendous suffering that innocent Haitians are experiencing, and help create the conditions that will enable them to have that opportunity.

So I think we’ve had an intense and good day today already.  This is coming together in a positive direction, and I hope the discussions we’ll continue to have can now finalize a plan that will move us forward.

Again, thank you very much, Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister.  (Applause.)

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS