HomePoliticsThe Biden administration will give Haiti nearly $110 million in security assistance,...

The Biden administration will give Haiti nearly $110 million in security assistance, Blinken says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will allocate nearly $110 million in security and police aid to Haiti, a U.S. State Department official told Reuters, a move that sidesteps a months-long hold on the funds by Republican lawmakers.

The official, speaking on background, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the decision after more than a hundred briefings to Congress by the State Department and that the Biden administration remained committed to working in “close consultation” with that organ.

“The security situation in Haiti remains untenable due to the violence perpetrated by violent gangs, and the people of Haiti cannot wait,” the official said.

The funds include $95 million to support security missions and $15 million for the Haitian National Police to combat gang violence.

“The Biden administration’s choice to lift the hold I placed on U.S. taxpayer funding for the ill-conceived Haitian MSS (Multinational Security Support Mission) is extremely disappointing,” said Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a speech. a statement.

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Risch and Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in March that they were “holding out” on funds for Haiti because they needed “much more detail” before they could approve them.

The State Department said at the time that it was in discussions with Congress to seek approval for the funds, which are considered essential for the deployment of Kenyan police in the Caribbean country, where rising gang violence has cut off food supplies and killed hundreds of thousands forced people to flee. their houses.

The leaders of the foreign relations committees have approval authority over the money, but the administration can override their hold if it decides a situation is extreme enough to warrant passage.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Deepa Babington and Diane Craft)

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