Haiti sent ‘urgent’ request for U.S., U.N. troops to secure ports after assassination

·2 min read

The Haitian government under acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph sent a letter to the Biden administration this week requesting the “urgent” deployment of troops to secure the country’s sea, air and oil ports, hours after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, delivered the letter after Joseph spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday.

A similar letter was sent to the U.N. Integrated Office in Haiti, requesting troops to help secure the country in crisis and investigate Moïse’s killing.

Deputy Spokesman of the U.N. Secretary General Farhan Aziz Haq confirmed that the United Nations had received a letter requesting troops. “The sending of any force would be a matter for the Security Council to decide,” Haq told the Miami Herald.

The letters dated July 7, written in French and obtained by the Miami Herald, say the priority areas for troops would be port and airport security, security of oil terminals, transport of oil products, and electoral security.

Troops would support “the urgent needs of the Haitian government on issues of security,” the letters said, reinforcing the work of the Haitian National Police, which is currently leading the Moïse investigation and working to keep calm in a country that faced a rash of gang violence even before the president was killed.

U.S. officials said Friday they were responding to requests for “security and investigative assistance” by sending a delegation of FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials to Haiti, where they will assist in the Moïse probe and assess the security situation on the ground.

U.S. officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“In response to the Haitian government’s request for security and investigative assistance, we will be sending senior FBI and DHS officials to Port-au-Prince as soon as possible to assess the situation and how we may be able to assist,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing Friday.

McClatchy correspondent Michael Wilner reported from Washington.