Spain announces support for multinational security support force in Haiti

By Haiti Loop News, Oct. 14, 2023

Spain will support the multinational security support (MSS) mission to be led by Kenya in Haiti. The announcement was made by the Spanish ambassador to Haiti, Sergio Cuesta, on October 12, during "Hispanic Day" celebrations held at the Spanish embassy in Haiti.

"As our Minister of Foreign Affairs announced in September in New York, Spain will give its support to this force", said Ambassador Sergio Cuesta, stressing that the success of the mission depends on the commitment of the Haitian people, "the sole protagonists and decision-makers of their future".

The diplomat added that the success of this mission will only be achieved if the Haitian people are "united and rally around key objectives, including a political agreement, as broad as possible, that will enable the organization of elections."

A number of Haitian officials attended Thursday's Hispanic celebration at the Spanish Embassy, including Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the High Transitional Council (HCT).


Progress on the Kenyan mission

Meanwhile, the Kenyan government continues to make progress on the final stages of the mission's deployment to Haiti. The Kenyan Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the deployment of the force, pending parliamentary approval which is expected by the end of this month.

Recruitment of the 1,000 police officers who will form part of the force has already begun. Clear criteria have been established by the Kenyan government for those who will be part of the force.

The officers must have more than five years' experience in the National Police Service (NPS), be aged between 20 and 40 and have no more than two convictions in their lifetimes, the last of which must have taken place within the last 6 months. They will undergo rigorous medical tests, training and French language courses.

In addition, a second assessment mission from Kenya is expected in Haiti next week. The announcement was made by Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Home Affairs, Kithure Kindiki, before a parliamentary committee on security on Thursday October 12. The Kenyan delegation's mission will be to "ensure that diplomatic and legal requirements are in place" prior to the force's deployment.

On Thursday 12th, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry received at his official residence a UN delegation led by Miroslav Jenča, UN Under-Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas in the Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding, where they discussed developments in the security situation in Haiti in the run-up to the Kenyan mission, as well as Haiti's preparations to host the said force.

While Spain has yet to specify the nature of the support it will provide to Haiti as part of the MSS approved by the UN and Kenya's Ministry of the Interior, more than a dozen other countries, including Belize, which recently confirmed its participation in the mission, have promised to send police officers in some cases, and soldiers in others, to help the country whose government requested international intervention from the UN last October.

 

Translated by CHIP editors

 

Posted Oct. 21, 2023