Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 18, 2023
Good morning, colleagues. I would like to thank the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council for bringing us together today. I want to also recognize our co-penholder, Ecuador, for its longstanding collaboration with us in the Security Council.
Colleagues, there is no shortage of crises that demand and deserve our attention. But we cannot lose sight of what is happening in Haiti. We simply cannot. So many people are suffering. Suffering from unceasing violence, including kidnappings, gang violence. And suffering from a growing humanitarian crisis.
The briefings we just heard have only underscored our deep, deep concerns about the dire situation in Haiti. And we believe that the Multinational Security Support mission can play a key role in answering Haiti’s call for international support.
It bears repeating that this is not a UN-led peacekeeping operation, but rather, a multinational effort led by Kenya, with the UN’s authorization. And we commend Kenya for its commitment to not only lead this mission – but to lead it with integrity. Already, Kenya is training its first contingent of officers with a verified and robust UN curriculum. And we will continue to support Kenya in establishing the mission structure, and training personnel for deployment. Just last week, planning teams from the United States and Haiti travelled to Kenya, where we reached agreement on several key requirements in advance of the MSS mission, including progress on a concept of operations and use of force.
Colleagues, the challenges facing Haiti are compounded to create an untenable situation for its people. No person should live in fear of gang violence or go to bed hungry. No parent should lose their child to cholera, or see their neighborhoods burned to the ground. The ability of the MSS to support the Haitian National Police in restoring security in Haiti – as set forth in its mandate – will require sustained attention and resources from all of us.
The United States is grateful that the Security Council called for the establishment of a UN Trust Fund to facilitate voluntary contributions from the international community to the MSS mission. And we are thankful for the partners that have already pledged personnel, equipment, and financial assistance.
We too have been steadfast in our support for this mission. Working with our Congress, we intend to provide up to $200 million for the MSS mission, including $100 million from the Department of State and up to $100 million in Department of Defense in-kind support.
Now, our ask to the rest of the international community is simply: Join us. We hope today’s meeting, convened by the GRULAC leadership of the UN’s main organs, can inspire more regional support for the MSS mission. And we need Member States to provide direct assistance to the MSS mission in the form of personnel, funding, and in-kind support.
More than that, we need to see the MSS mission not as an end, but as one element of a comprehensive strategy to provide diplomatic, humanitarian, and capacity-building support to Haiti. That includes helping set Haiti down the path to sustainable development. And, it includes creating a lasting political solution, with free, fair, transparent, and credible elections, which Haiti has not had since 2016.
To that end, we encourage political actors in Haiti to come to the table for dialogue and to commit to an [inclusive] political transition. Because while there can be no lasting political solution without security, we also know the opposite is true.
The United States remains committed to addressing insecurity in Haiti, both here through the UN, and bilaterally. The Haitian people are counting on us to stand with them and back Kenya in its mission, to finally bring stability and hope to their country.
Thank you, Mr. President.