(Reuters) -The Bahamian government on Tuesday welcomed Kenya’s decision to lead a multinational force in Haiti and committed 150 people to support the effort if the United Nations authorizes the force.
The announcement from the Bahamas’ foreign ministry follows a request on Monday from U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Haiti’s neighbors join forces with Kenya, which last week said it was willing to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti to help stem gang violence.
“The Bahamas has committed 150 persons to support the multi-national force once authorized by the United Nations Security Council,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Bahamas’ statement echoed comments from Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua, who described the security intervention as an opportunity to stand “with persons of African descent across the world.”
It added the Bahamas looks “forward to cooperating with hemispheric partners including the United States and Canada.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday commended Kenya for “considering to serve as the lead nation” for the multinational force and expressed support for its authorization from a UN Security Council Resolution.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Washington-based Organization of American States said the group’s general secretariat “welcomes with appreciation” Kenya’s announcement.
Haiti’s government requested international security assistance last year, attracting the UN’s support for a security force to be deployed by member states, but no country had been willing to lead such an effort until Kenya’s commitment.
Regional governments have been reluctant to support the unelected administration of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has said fair elections cannot be held with the current insecurity.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Boyle and Jasper Ward; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Chris Reese)