NEWS

Acting Deputy Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols After the Addressing the Urgent Security Situation in Haiti UN General Assembly Side Event


MR MILLER:  All right, let me just kick it off by saying obviously we have Acting Deputy Secretary Victoria Nuland and Assistant Secretary Brian Nichols.  They’re going to talk on the record about Haiti, and then take questions.  Because the Secretary has a press conference in a little while where he’ll be taking questions about everything under the sun, they’re only going to take questions on Haiti.  But the Secretary will be glad to take your questions on everything else at 3:00, I think it is.

With that.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  Excellent.  Thank you, Matt.  So the Secretary convened today a multinational meeting in support of the planned multinational security and support mission to Haiti.  We had 34-plus countries and institutions represented.  We began by hearing from President Henry[1], with whom the Secretary had a chance to also have a private conversation before the meeting started, and then hearing from Foreign Minister Mutua of Kenya.  Kenya, as you know, has stepped up to be the lead nation for this mission.  I would – and the mission itself will involve, assuming that the Security Council resolution clears, which we’ll talk about in a minute – it’ll include a component of static security support at key installations in Haiti, but also active security support for the Haitian National Police as they go on missions to try to get control of the streets and the gangs that have been so imperiling Haiti’s security.

So the next step is a UN Security Council resolution blessing this mission under Chapter 7 authority.  We expect to have some work on that next week here at the UN.  There was very strong support in the room from everybody for the UN Security Council resolution, and there were a number of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council in the room.  I would say that 10, 12 countries came forward with concrete offers of support, but everybody in the room said that they will find a way to support this mission.  So we will then be looking for both police-contributing countries, countries who can provide financial support for this mission, countries that can provide the weapons and other kinds of things that the force will need, and continued training for the Haitian National Police in that regard.  I think you know that the U.S. has provided $120 million for the Haitian National Police over the last two years.  We have a very extensive training program, and we just noticed the Hill about an intention to provide 65 million more, and that’s on top of the 500 million that the U.S. already provides in development and humanitarian assistance to Haiti.

We expect to be working with Congress to provide another $100 million in support for the MSS itself.  And we expect the Pentagon will be providing another 100 million in in-kind support – intelligence, airlift, communications, and medical.  So on top of those numbers I gave you earlier, about 200 million more with – assuming Congress supports – for this mission and we’ll also be passing the hat internationally, and we expect a lot of our partners to be willing to step up.

Last point:  You will have seen that we sanctioned more Haitians with 212(3)(c) visa sanctions today, five more people.  We, the United States, have sanctioned more Haitians than any other country.  These are individuals today who either themselves or members – who themselves are involved in drug trafficking and financing of the gangs, or members of their families.  So that also sends a strong signal from the United States.  And because these are visa sanctions, we obviously don’t go into names.

Anything else, Assistant Secretary Nichols?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  No, I think we can just go to the questions.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  Great.

QUESTION:  You said 10 to 12 made offers.  Is that offers of troops, or is that offers of money, or both?  And then separately, what’s your – what was the message to Henry?  Because, I mean, there’s a lot of doubt about how legitimate he is as a leader.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  So thank you for that.  There were various offers.  Some countries we know are going to contribute troops; other countries will likely contribute money.  There may be some – we – offers of lift.  We obviously will need equipment for the Kenyans, so – but in the room it was a mix of things.

I should have said at the outset that this obviously – this additional security support for Haiti goes hand in hand with the work that Prime Minister Henry is leading to forge a national consensus on a political path forward.  The Secretary talked to him about that, and there was a very strong feeling in the room that these processes – both the security process and the political process – need to go hand in hand, they need to be a virtuous circle, and they need to be accelerated.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  I’d just add that there were offers of support from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean.  There was a – it was really exciting just between the deputy secretary and I.  And people were coming up to us today and yesterday, saying, “Hey, we’re in, we’re going to support; we are going to provide troops, we’re going to provide police, we’re going to provide money.”  The Kenyans have not yet provided the full list of what they need, so that’s one of the reasons why people haven’t been able to define their contributions more specifically.  And as the resolution develops next week, the Kenyans have committed that they’re going to get their asks ready so that we can really inventory what the needs are and what people will bring to the table.

QUESTION:  The Kenyans have said that this security mission they’ve offered about a thousand people, police force.  A lot of experts say that’s way under what would be needed.  They’re speaking more about 2,000 or beyond that.  What is your sense of – on that specific issue?  I mean, since you had – there were some offers of troops, but what are we talking about?

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  So we’re not going to get into the overall size, but as the lead nation we expect Kenya to be the largest contributor, and a thousand is going to take care of a good chunk of this.  But we’ll have more for you on that as we continue to scope the mission.  But we’ve already got, I think, five, six other countries ready to contribute.  We’re not going to announce on their behalf yet, but this is part of what we’ll work on, right.  We’ll do the Security Council resolution, and then we’ll work with the Kenyans on what exactly they’re bringing and where the gaps are, and then go around.

QUESTION:  So in Haiti there was a very strong reaction – sorry, Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald – there was a very strong reaction to this idea of a static force, and troops coming in to just protect buildings, when the reality on the ground is they’ve already lost 800 police officers in the first six months of this year.  The gangs now are much more united.  The MINUSTAH mandate of 6,000-7,000 struggled against the gangs and everybody agreed that this is a much tougher situation.  So, there’s a couple of questions that have come up in Haiti as a result of this in terms of static versus offensive.  If there is a human rights violation 500 yards from where the Kenyans are protecting the Varreux terminal, will they be involved, will they not be?  Will they not be involved in terms of, like – what can we expect in terms of the rules of engagement?  It’s one of the questions that have come up.

The other thing that has come up, there has been very nuanced – when the U.S. talks about this, they talk about a police mission.  When Guterres talks about this, he talks about military and police assets.  Do you all expect in the countries that have raised their hands, said we’re – outside of Jamaica – are we going to see some sort of military as well as the police?  Because history has shown us that, given the terrain in Haiti, that you need to have some sort of a military experience.

And then finally, how sure are you that this vote is going to go through?  What I am hearing from your partners is that, while the U.S. may be optimistic, there’s a lot of questions – exit strategy, deployment – that have not been answered, and not every country is ready on board to say “yes, we go do this.”

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  So that’s a lot.  Let’s take them in line – but also just to say that a lot of these issues are being developed as we speak.  So, to begin with, when the Kenyans went down to Haiti and looked at the situation, they came to the same conclusion that whereas we need some static security to relieve pressure on the police not to have to cover those installations – ports, airports, et cetera – that this mission also needs to be active in supporting the Haitian National Police on their actual missions.  And so, the current draft in front of the council includes the capacity to do that.  That’s one thing, for sure.

In terms of our confidence on passage, again, this meeting had a lot of the members of the permanent council in it.  A lot of them see that if we do not do this, the situation is just going to get harder.  And we have spent this week building support, including among the doubters, including – with regard to the ROE and how this will go, that obviously has to be worked on and developed.  And the kinds of questions that you raised at the end are generally fleshed out after a Security Council resolution.  There is no precedent for that level of detail in a resolution itself.

Did I miss one?  There were three questions, right?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So, just a couple things I would add:  The countries that have offered their support have talked about both police and military.  There – force generation, I think, is easier on the military side versus the police side.  It’s – there’s more customary deployment for countries – and we have, again, offers from South America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia in that regard.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  I would just add on this there’s a range of how countries operate, right.  There are a number of countries, including the Kenyans, that have high-end police.  They have gendarmerie that operate in that seam.  So I think the majority you will see will be in that category, but there are countries that will want to contribute that only have military to offer.  So it’ll be an integrated force.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  The other thing I would just note in terms of exit strategy and how this will be different:  There are – the exit strategy goes through elections.  And there was a lot of discussion, both in today’s meeting and in yesterday’s ECOSOC ad hoc working group meeting, about the importance of securing the path towards elections in Haiti and promoting more inclusive leadership on the way to elections so that all key political actors have confidence in the process.

The United States also has a long-term strategy for Haiti that’s a ten-year strategy to provide assistance.  And countries have learned lessons from the past, including the Government of Haiti itself, and there are – you can see that reflected in the text of the draft resolution.  You can hear that reflected in the conversations that people have had, which talked about the importance of legal reforms in Haiti, institutional strengthening, economic development.  This administration has already called for the renewal of HOPE and HELP legislation, for example.  We’ve talked about the importance of promoting investment in that regard.

So, we’re thinking about a lot of these issues to create a long-term path to a more sustainable, safe, and better future with Haitian people.

QUESTION:  On the —

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  I think we have time for one more —

MODERATOR:  Time for one more – one more.  Humeyra.

QUESTION:  On the – thanks.  On the passage of the Security Council resolution, have you been in touch with Russia and China?  Do you have any idea whether they’re on board or how they’re going to vote?  And I’m wondering:  What do you think was the motivation for Kenya to take this mission on, to lead it?  Just for – out of the goodness of their hearts, or U.S. promised something to them? 

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  So on the first issue, we’ve been in touch with all Security Council members permanent and non-permanent.  And we will intensify that, obviously, as we move towards voting.  And —

QUESTION:  Did you get positive feedback from Russia and China?

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  I’m not going to speak to how individual countries – I’m going to let them speak for themselves.  But we are making very, very clear that this is important to the hemisphere, it’s important to Haiti, it’s important to us, and that we cannot as – particularly for permanent council members, we can’t stand by and let Haiti collapse, that it is – this is a much-needed mission.  And for whatever reason – it must be because it’s Friday – I don’t remember the second question.

QUESTION:  Kenya.  Kenya.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:   Oh, Kenya.  Yeah, so, listen, Kenya’s got, as I said, very highly experienced, high-end police.  They see this situation, and they were willing to support.  They’ve had – been supported by the international community in the past.  They do a lot of support to others around Africa.  But I think this is one of the cool things about this – as Brian said, we’ve got countries from every continent willing to contribute here to Haiti.

But the fact that – in line with what the President spoke about in his remarks, what the Secretary said in his big speech, if we are as a global community interested in supporting the tenets of the UN Charter and coming to each other’s support in times of need, it can’t just be neighborhood by neighborhood.  We need to have, really, a global response to all of these key questions – and that doesn’t just go for the Ukraine crisis.  It goes for all of these crises if we want the UN system to work.  So, we’re extremely gratified that the Kenyans are setting this example now of one neighborhood coming to the support of another.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Oh, absolutely.  I would just add that – refer you to President Ruto’s address to the General Assembly, where he talks precisely about why Kenya is taking on this effort.  And Kenya is one of the most highly rated providers of forces for peacekeeping operations historically, and they’re a country that has a deep commitment to the international system.

ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY NULAND:  All right, thank you all.

MODERATOR:  Thank you all.


[1] Prime Minister Henry currently also serves as Acting President. [back to text]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

gates of olympus