Garry Conille
Haiti's new Prime Minister, Garry Conille AFP

Top U.S. officials asked Haiti's new prime minister, Garry Conille, to focus on establishing an electoral council, as the Caribbean country faces crises on multiple fronts also including security, the economy and the unraveling of the whole societal fabric.

Brian Nichols, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said that this step would "give the Haitian people an opportunity to select their leaders democratically for the first time in years."

He said so after a meeting between Conille and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where the American official recognized the steps taken toward addressing the security crisis but emphasized on the need for progress in the electoral area.

Haiti's recently-formed transitional council, which elected Conille, has been tasked with paving the way for what would be the country's first presidential election since 2016. Its mandate expires on February 7, 2026, the date set for the new president to take office. Setting up such a body is a requisite before an election can take place.

The meeting also revolved around the security situation, as the first contingent of the U.S.-backed international mission and led by Kenyan police officers recently arrived in the country.

The international force began arriving in late June, with 400 Kenyan police officers leading the way. The force will initially have a "static" role, helping protect key infrastructure in the country rather than fighting the gangs.

Todd Robinson, assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said the U.S. has provided training and personnel to support the mission, as well as armed vehicles and drones for the Haitian police.

Conille also pleaded for more funds to help the besieged country fight the criminal gangs that control vast swaths of its territory.

Despite Republican opposition, the Biden administration is set to release $100 million for an international mission tasked with aiding local forces. However, Conille said more money would be needed soon, emphasizing that "this is a critical point."

While Conille thanked the support already committed, he said they are only enough to "quickly implement basic infrastructure, repair basic infrastructure, and make sure that the services are available to people."

The U.S. has pledged $300 million, about half of what the mission is estimated to cost. And while the State Department had no issues securing the first $200 million, it encountered the aforementioned block for the remaining part. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas and Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho had refused to lift the block. That's when the Biden administration circumvented the blockage, resorting to a move described as the "nuclear option," as it overrides a Republican hold on the funds.

Following the decision, Senator Rasch, the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he was disappointed by the decision and called the international force "ill-conceived."

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