President William Ruto: We shall succeed in Haiti

William Ruto

President William Ruto addressing the United Nation General Assembly in New York. 

Photo credit: PCS

President William Ruto has welcomed the United Nations Security Council's approval of a Kenyan-led Multinational Security Support Mission (MSSM) in Haiti, promising that the "historic" operation will succeed.

"We will succeed in Haiti. We must not fail the people of Haiti," the president said in a statement hours after the USNC voted in favour of the mission.

The mission was approved by 13 votes, with Russia and China abstaining.

The council also agreed to extend a UN arms embargo to all gangs, rather than just some individuals, following a push from Beijing.

Ruto said the resolution was an overdue and critical instrument to define the multinational mission, which he said would leave a different footprint in the history of international intervention in Haiti.

"The resolution marks an important moment in the history of global multilateralism as we engage in international collective action that places human security and dignity on an equal footing with state security and sovereignty, and enables the nations of the world to fulfil a collective moral duty to ensure justice and security for all peoples of all nations," he said.

He added that the mission's sole objective is to provide an appropriate environment for the leadership, both political and civil, to usher in stability, development and democratic governance through a political framework owned and driven by the Haitian people.

This confirms that the mission will have peacekeeping characteristics, with the sole aim of pacifying the Caribbean nation to ensure that governance is restored.

Comparing Haiti's struggles with colonialism to Kenya's long, difficult and frustrating struggle for independence, President Ruto said the mission was of particular importance and urgency to the country. 

"We have experienced the harrowing brunt of colonialism, as well as the struggle for freedom against those who can influence international institutions to frustrate justice....In our struggle we have always had friends, not an overwhelming number of powerful allies, but true, loyal and determined friends nonetheless. The people of Haiti, our dear friends, are in need today. It is our fundamental moral obligation to be truly their friend by standing with them," the President said.

Ruto added that the mission's resolve will make a different mark in the history of international interventions in Haiti, drawing on Kenya's past successful peacekeeping missions from East Timor and the former Yugoslavia to Eritrea, Angola and Sierra Leone.

"We have always been ready and willing to play our part in bringing peace, security and stability," he added, while calling on international partners to provide adequate resources.

Critics of the mission have questioned Kenya's readiness for the mission, which begins in January this year, describing it as too risky for a service unfamiliar with the terrain and local language of Haiti's people.

In response, President Ruto said Kenya cannot run away from Haiti and that "doing nothing in the face of human suffering is absolutely out of the question".

"This is a mission for humanity that boldly and directly aligns with the founding principles of the United Nations and reaffirms our shared hope that justice will finally be done for the people of Haiti who have borne the brunt of colonial plunder and oppression as well as post-colonial retribution and exploitation, leaving them vulnerable to geological, climatic and epidemic disasters," he stated.

Haiti's foreign minister welcomed the vote, saying it's an expression of solidarity with a population in need.

"It is a glimmer of hope for people who have suffered for too long," he said.

The United States also welcomed the UN Security Council's decision and reiterated its commitment to provide $100 million in support of the mission.

"As previously stated, we intend to work with Congress to provide $100 million in foreign assistance, and the Department of Defense stands ready to provide up to $100 million in enabling support.  We continue to look to the international community to also provide funding, equipment, training and personnel to support a truly multinational effort," US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

Japan voted in favour and warned participating countries to carry out adequate planning before deploying the mission.

"Preparations are crucial: need to know the situation on the ground, clear requirements for capabilities and resources, defined rules of engagement and division of labour."