World

Blinken in Canada: Haitian military forces ‘in progress’


Vancouver, Canada — The United States and Canada will work together to “cut the knot of insecurity” that has allowed gangs to fuel the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.

But neither Blinken nor Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly committed their country to leading a military force to the Caribbean nation.

“This is a work in progress and we are continuing to pursue it,” Blinken said at a press conference in Ottawa during her first visit to Canada.

Blinken said Canada and the US agree that “more needs to be done” to assist Haiti’s national police in restoring their security restraint.

“We talked about what that might look like,” Blinken said. “We have both spoken to various countries to gauge their interest and willingness to engage in that.”

Joly said Canada has sent out an “assessment mission” to gather information to find solutions supported by Hattians.

Haiti’s interim government has operated in chaos since the assassination of former president Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

Since September, armed gangs have blocked access to fuel, leading to shortages of basic goods, clean water and medical services, all during a cholera outbreak.

Canada and the United States have sent tanks, and the United Nations is considering military intervention to restore order, which has been endorsed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Later, ahead of a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Blinken said Canada and the US “are the two most inclusive countries in the world” and have a history of working together to solve problems.

“Not one of the problems that affect us as a person or what we need to solve around the world can be solved by one of us acting alone,” he said. “The more we find ways to collaborate, work together, the more effective we become.”

During the press conference, Blinken and Joly reiterated their support for Ukraine, condemned Iran for its treatment of women and supply of drones to Russia, and pledged to work together to increase Arctic security.

Blinken called Russia’s use of Iranian drones to kill Ukrainian civilians and destroy infrastructure “appalling.”

“We continue to work with our allies and partners to prevent and counter Iran’s supply of these weapons,” he said.

Joly said Canada says it stands with women and girls in Iran who are fighting against the autocracy.

“Women’s rights are human rights,” she said. “We have a moral obligation to support the brave women of Iran and hold those who persecute them accountable.”

There have been protests across Iran sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly wearing a headscarf “improperly”.

Blinken also mentions that Canadian and US citizens are being held by other countries.

Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been detained in China for more than 1,000 days in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada.

American basketball star Brittney Griner is facing up to nine years in prison in Russia after being found guilty of smuggling and possessing cannabis oil.

“We support Canada’s efforts to rally the nations of the world to end the illegal practice of detaining innocent individuals and using them as a political pawn,” Blinken said. . “Both of our countries have suffered from this.”

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