China pushes for UN arms embargo against Haiti’s criminal gangs | WKZO | All Kalamazoo

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – China said on Thursday it wants the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on criminal gangs in Haiti as the 15-member body negotiates a resolution to extend a mission United Nations policy in this conflict-torn Caribbean country.

The council is due to vote on Friday when the UN mission’s mandate expires. But China, backed by Russia, raised issues with the text drafted by the United States and Mexico.

“The situation in Haiti cannot be worse,” said a spokesman for the Chinese mission to the United Nations in New York.

“An arms embargo against criminal gangs is the minimum the council should do,” the spokesperson said, adding that anything short of it “would not only disappoint the Haitian people, but would also mean an opportunity lost” for the board.

Gang violence has skyrocketed since the assassination last year of President Jovenel Moise, which created a political vacuum that criminal groups have taken advantage of to expand their control over the territory.

The initial draft text expresses concern about the illicit trafficking and diversion of arms and calls on the UN mission to work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to support the Haitian authorities “in the fight against illicit financial flows as well as the trafficking and diversion of arms and related materiel. ”

Diplomats said the United States and Mexico plan to circulate a revised draft text.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes from China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain to pass.

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A senior Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more work was needed before the council could consider imposing any kind of arms embargo.

“If we were to go in that direction, we have to do them right. You need to have a clear understanding of exactly what we want to achieve,” the diplomat said, noting that the council would also need to know exactly who to target.

The UN political mission is in Haiti to work with the government to strengthen political stability and good governance, the protection of human rights and justice reform and to assist in the holding of free and fair elections. fair.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has asked the council to renew the mission for 12 months. The original draft resolution from Mexico and the United States proposed a 15-month extension. China said it does not support 15 months.

In a report to the Security Council last month, Guterres said holding elections in Haiti by the end of this year “seems unlikely.” China would also like the council to push Haiti to agree on a political transition plan within six months, said the spokesperson for the Chinese mission to the UN.

UN peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 after a rebellion led to the ousting and exile of then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Peacekeeping troops left in 2017 and were replaced by UN police, who left in 2019.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Martin E. Berry