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Kenyan President Ruto visits US as Haiti police deployment takes shape | Political news

Kenyan President Ruto visits US as Haiti police deployment takes shape |  Political news


Kenyan President William Ruto is visiting the United States this week, part of efforts to deepen economic and security cooperation between the two countries, as well as launch a police deployment to long-stalled Haiti.

The trip comes as US President Joe Biden's administration seeks to strengthen partnerships with African countries amid growing competition on the continent with its main geopolitical rivals China and Russia.

Ruto, who will speak with Biden at the White House on Thursday, is also visiting the United States as a United Nations-backed initiative to send a Kenyan-led police force to Haiti appears to be solidifying.

The U.N. Security Council last year authorized the multinational support mission, which supporters say is needed to help restore security to the Caribbean country amid years of violence and instability widespread gangs.

But a recent wave of deadly attacks perpetrated by Haitian armed groups, particularly in the capital Port-au-Prince, has delayed the mission.

Today, Kenyan officials say a deployment is imminent as a fragile political transition is underway in Haiti and the country's main airport, in Port-au-Prince, recently reopened.

Korir SingOei, Kenya's principal foreign secretary, told reporters on Sunday that the country was finalizing preparations for the mission. I can tell you with certainty that this deployment will take place in the next few days, a few weeks, SingOei said.

The deployment is expected to have around 2,500 members, a U.N. official said in December, including 1,000 Kenyan police officers.

The U.S. Southern Command also said this month that contractors had been flown to Haiti to set up the temporary housing area for the possible arrival of the Multinational Security Support Mission (MSS). ). Equipment and supplies were also delivered.

Outstanding issues

However, Meron Elias, an East and Southern Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank, said last week that points of friction remained between the United States and Kenya over the mission.

Kenya is demanding that the United States do more to rally financial support for the joint UN fund that will cover the costs of the missions, Elias said.

Kenya also wants the United States to commit greater support to stem the flow of arms to Haiti, particularly from U.S. ports in Florida.

Samar al-Bulushi, a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said Tuesday that Kenya's decision to lead the mission represents the culmination of years of efforts by Nairobi to establish strong security ties with Washington .

Speaking at a Quincy Institute panel discussion on U.S.-Kenya relations and the Haiti deployment, al-Bulushi said there was also considerable opposition to the Haiti mission among Kenyans.

There was no public consultation on the decision to lead this mission in Haiti, and I think many Kenyans are frustrated by that fact, she said.

Martin Mavenjina, of the Kenya Human Rights Commission in Nairobi, told Al Jazeera last August that the Kenyan police had a known history of human rights violations and that this should be discussed before a mission can be deployed.

Deadly violence

Over the past year, as uncertainty surrounding the mission prevailed, human rights groups also said safeguards would be essential to protect Haitians from the misfortunes of past foreign interventions.

More recently, a UN peacekeeping mission has been linked to a deadly cholera outbreak and allegations of sexual abuse, sparking opposition to the prospect of further deployment of foreign forces in the country .

But as armed groups have become more independent and unleashed deadly violence in Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti in recent months, many civil society leaders and Haitian citizens say the country has Need help restoring security.

The latest wave of unrest, which began in February with attacks on police stations, prisons and other state institutions, forced Haiti's unelected Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, to resign.

An interim presidential council has since been appointed to run the country, but major concerns and uncertainties persist. Around 362,000 people, half of them children, are displaced by the violence, according to UN figures.

Because the United States, the UN and other donor countries in Haiti have allowed the gangs to become so strong and allowed the situation to erode to such a level, they need some sort of security intervention, a declared Daniel Foote, former American special envoy to Haiti. Haiti which criticized foreign interventions.

The Haitian National Police is decimated, Foote said during Tuesday's panel.

But, Foote said, it remains unclear who the Kenyan-led mission would work for, given the lack of a functioning government in Haiti. He also questioned whether a force of 1,000 officers would be able to restore security.

People need someone to police the streets so they can get bread and be able to deliver essential goods to people who need them in hospitals, Foote said.




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