UN extends political mission in Haiti after US-China dispute – Community News
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UN extends political mission in Haiti after US-China dispute

Haiti is grappling with the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, an earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, and escalating gang-related killings, kidnappings and turf wars.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Friday evening to extend the UN’s political mission in Haiti following a dispute between China, which has no diplomatic relations with Latin America’s poorest country, and many other members who stressed the importance of the long-standing United Nations presence in the crisis-ravaged country.

In a compromise just hours before the mission’s mandate expires at midnight, the United States and Mexico, which drafted the council’s resolution, agreed with China to extend it by nine months — less than the year Washington wanted. and sought Beijing for more than six months.

That averted a looming Chinese veto of the resolution and led to the 15-0 vote to approve the measure, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were private.

China’s anger at Haiti

The diplomats said the reason behind China’s sober action is Beijing’s anger at Haiti for maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Haiti is one of only 15 countries — and the second largest by population — to continue to recognize self-governing democratic Taiwan, which China claims is part of its own territory.

Taiwan’s future has increasingly become a potential powder keg as Beijing recently sent a record number of military planes to harass the island during China’s National Day.

Situation in Haiti

Haiti faces the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes in August, and escalating gang-related killings, kidnappings and turf wars .

Last month, US border patrol officers’ treatment of the Haitian migrants gathered at the southern US border sparked outrage.

The Security Council condemned the murder of Mr Moise “in the strongest terms” and urged the government to hold the perpetrators to account. The resolution also expressed deep concern about the devastating effects of the earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace two days later.

Last week, Haiti’s top diplomat pleaded with the Security Council for help in tackling gang violence and crime, saying the UN’s political mission should focus on strengthening the security and law enforcement agency.

“It is vital to take into account the new realities the country is facing and have the mandate adjusted accordingly,” Foreign Minister Claude Joseph told the council.

The new UN resolution

The resolution adopted Friday asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to conduct an assessment within six months of the political mission’s mandate, including whether and how it should be adapted to meet Haiti’s ongoing challenges. to deal with.

It extends the political mission, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, known as BINUH, until July 15, 2022, but does not change the original mandate adopted in June 2019.

It empowers the political mission to advise the government of Haiti “in promoting and strengthening political stability and good governance”, including promoting the rule of law, supporting inclusive national dialogue and protecting and promoting human rights.

In Friday’s resolution, the council noted with deep concern the acute political, economic, security and humanitarian crisis in Haiti and reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to continue supporting the people of Haiti.

It underlined the importance of addressing the recent increase in gang violence and its causes.

The resolution urges all Haitian parties to “commit to an inclusive inter-Haitian national dialogue to address longstanding causes of instability” and to create a framework for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections “so fast as technically feasible”.

It also encourages cooperation between BINUH, other UN officials, regional organizations and international financial institutions to help Haiti achieve long-term stability, development and economic self-sufficiency.

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun made no mention of Taiwan in a short speech after the vote, but instead urged the Haitian government and political leaders to put the interests of the country and its people first and “end any power struggle …and work together to lift the country out of chaos and put it on the path of orderly development.”

He said China was “a responsible and constructive participant” in the discussions on the resolution and urged the Secretary-General’s assessment.

He also underlined “that ultimately Haiti cannot achieve stability and development without self-reliance.”

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield alluded to the dispute, telling the council that by extending the BINUH mandate, the Security Council “has helped ensure that the UN can continue its vital efforts to support democratic institutions and plan elections.” , strengthen the rule of law and promote stability.”

Calling BINUH’s role “both advisory and essential,” she said: “Let me be clear: this is not the time for the Security Council to walk away from Haiti.”