Canada on Thursday announced the launch of a new centre to coordinate international security assistance to Haiti, but stopped short of agreeing to lead an intervention force sought by UN and Haitian leadership.
"We want to have this coordination cell up and running this summer in the Dominican Republic," Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a speech, adding that Canada would also have a "team in Port-au-Prince to work hand-in-hand with front line experts," local authorities and the Haitian National Police (HNP).
Haiti's prime minister and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have called for months for a new international mission to stabilise the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, which has been wracked by gang violence, a worsening public health situation and political instability.
The country has not held national elections since 2016.
No nation has yet to offer to lead the force, but several nations -- including Canada, France and the United States -- have said they support such a plan.
Joly, in a Foreign Ministry statement, reiterated on Thursday that Canada will "continue to work with the international community to advance a Haitian-led solution to the crisis."
The Canadian-led "Joint Security Coordination Cell" (JSCC) will look to "enhance the coordination and mobilization of international efforts in security assistance" to Haiti, the statement said.
The government also announced a new investment of Can$13 million (US$9.8 million) to UN programs supporting the Haitian police force.
That comes on top of a Can$100 million announced in March by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a visit by US President Joe Biden.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry said it had imposed sanctions on two of the Caribbean nation's former legislators, Prophane Victor and Gracia Delva, bringing the total number of Haitian elites sanctioned for supporting armed gangs to 21.
Posted June 16, 2023