United States urges Canada to show leadership in Haiti

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United States urges Canada to show leadership in Haiti

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Ottawa today, in particular to convince Canada to lead an international intervention force in the pearl of the Antilles.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Canada for a two-day visit. (Archives)

The Americans want a substantial involvement of Canada in Haiti and ask it to take a leadership role in a possible international intervention force to stabilize the country.

This is one of the many questions that will be discussed Thursday in Ottawa, when Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly receives her American counterpart Antony Blinken.

Several countries could lead this mission, led by Canada, Brian Nichols, the US Assistant Secretary of State, said in a technical briefing on Wednesday.

“Canada is an incredibly capable partner in this region of the globe, both at the police and military level.

— Brian Nichols, United States Assistant Secretary of State

The UN is discussing sending an international force to stabilize Haiti and to help the population break free from the grip of criminal gangs.

Fuel shortages, fueled by gang violence, have caused people to block roads.

These gangs have been blocking the port terminal of Varreux, in Port-au-Prince, since September and controlling access to essential commodities such as water, food and oil. A nightmarish situation, according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The United States is pushing for an international stabilization force to be ready in early November, says Brian Nichols , and Canada is in the running to lead this force, despite the apparent reluctance of the Trudeau government.

The country that would lead this UN mission has not yet been chosen, said Brian Nichols, and other countries than Canada could do so. But he added that Canadian expertise in the region makes it the most likely partner for rapid deployment in an emergency context.

Canada has already sent specialized equipment, including armored vehicles, to help local Haitian police fight these gangs. But for the moment, Ottawa seems reluctant to send soldiers or police to Haitian soil.

The primary objective of the Canadian government is to find a way to send ;Aid to Haitians who lack water, food and oil.

We can help at the humanitarian level and for the primary needs of citizens, said a Canadian government source.< /p>

But to solve the problems between street gangs and the Haitian government, the solution must come from within, continued this source. International aid cannot become a magical thought.

People are angry with the government in Haiti , in particular because of its inability to improve the security situation.

Canada believes it is helping to put pressure on street gangs. Economic sanctions imposed through the UN are helping to pressure those in the West who fund these gangs, the government has been told. Sending military equipment helps restore a balance of power between the government and the criminal gangs.

Canada does not rule out having recourse to the seasoned negotiators of the team from Global Affairs Canada to help break the deadlock. Sending trainers, notably from the RCMP, to train local police forces is also on the table, among other solutions being considered.

In addition to Mélanie Joly, the secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late Thursday afternoon. They will not only discuss Haiti, but also China, the war in Ukraine and the Russian threat in the Arctic.

Antony Blinken is also due to visit Montreal on Friday.

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