Top US official to travel to Haiti amid political crisis

Top US official to travel to Haiti amid political crisis

WASHINGTON, Feb 28, CMC – The United States Department of State says a top official will travel to the French-speaking Caribbean country on Friday.

On Wednesday, the State Department said that Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale will travel to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, where he will meet with President Jovenel Moise, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant, and other political, economic and civic leaders.

“Under Secretary Hale will encourage an inclusive national dialogue that addresses the current economic and political challenges facing Haiti,” the statement said.

“His visit will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to working with all Haitians towards a more secure, prosperous and democratic future,” it added.

Hale’s visit comes as Washington believes “genuine dialogue and compromise” will help end the stalemate in Haiti, where opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations demanding Moise’s resignation.

A statement, released by the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince, the Trump administration said it welcomes Moise’s call for national dialogue and was encouraging “all of Haiti’s lawfully elected representatives, and all Haitians who seek a peaceful political solution consistent with Haiti’s constitution, to engage in an inclusive dialogue – without resorting to violent action.”

Opposition political parties have accused Moise of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Citing crime and widespread civil unrest, the US Department of State earlier this month issued a Level 4 – do not travel alert for Haiti.

“There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti,” the State Department said .

The department ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members from Haiti, stating that the US government has “limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Haiti.

“Protests, tire burning and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable,” the State Department said. “Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common.”

It said local police in Haiti may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, adding that emergency response, including ambulance service, is “limited or non-existent.”

“Travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport,” the statement said.


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