NAIROBI – US President Joe Biden has commended Kenya for accepting to lead the Multinational Security Support mission to Haiti and expressed America’s support for the initiative.
President Willim Ruto on Wednesday said he had a phone conversation where the matter was discussed, as well as other “shared democratic values and belief in the rule of law as a platform for expanding economic opportunities and prosperity”.
“The relations between Kenya and United States are focused on the expansion of our shared prosperity. We are expediting the finalisation of a Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) agreement, which will anchor increased trade, boost manufacturing, create jobs and spur investment between our nations,” President Ruto said.
He added that the two states are keen on partnerships in infrastructure, renewable energy, green manufacturing and empowering Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, a key engine in Kenya’s economic growth.
“We will continue to engage on regional security, conflict resolution and the fight against terrorism to ensure the Horn of Africa has the room to focus on social and economic advancement,” he added.
White House readout of the phone call said the two leaders welcomed the successful vote at the United Nations Security Council authorizing the MSS to “bring relief to the people of Haiti, who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals”.
The UN Security Council on Monday authorized the deployment of an international security mission to help Haiti’s national police quell surging gang violence and restore security across the strife-torn Caribbean nation.
The mission was requested by the Haitian government and civil society representatives, following months of chaos and steadily worsening conditions affecting civilians.
According to the UN, there have been more than 3,000 homicides reported this year, and over 1,500 instances of kidnapping for ransom. Around 200,000 have been forced to flee their homes while sexual violence and abuse against women and girls at the hands of armed gangs ticks up. Tens of thousands of children are unable to go to school.
Adopting the resolution with a recorded vote of 13 in favour and 2 abstentions (Russia and China), ambassadors in New York also authorized the mission to help secure critical infrastructure and transit hubs such as the airport, ports, schools, hospitals and key intersections.
They also called on countries participating in the mission to ensure the highest standards of transparency, conduct and discipline for their personnel, and called for an oversight mechanism to prevent human rights violations or abuses, including sexual exploitation.
The non-UN mission is also slated to help ensure unhindered and safe access to humanitarian aid for millions of Haitians in need. The resolution, adopted under UN Charter’s Chapter VII, which sets out the Security Council’s responsibilities to maintain international peace and security, was penned by the United States and Ecuador.
Other than Kenya, other countries involved in the mission include Italy, Spain, Mongolia, Senegal, Belize, Suriname, Guatemala and Peru. The Caribbean nations of Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda have also announced their intent to take part in the mission.
Biden acknowledged President Ruto’s decision to accept to lead the Haiti mission at the UN General Assembly.
Speaking at the official opening of the 78th Session of the General Debate in New York, President Biden thanked Ruto for joining the Caribbean community in its quest for peace and willingness to alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people.
“The Caribbean community is facilitating dialogue within Haitian society. I thank President Ruto of Kenya for his willingness to serve as the lead nation of a UN-backed security support mission. I call on the Security Council to authorise this mission now. The people of Haiti cannot wait any longer,” President Biden added.