Haiti, Kenya set up diplomatic ties

(Reuters) -Haiti and Kenya established diplomatic relations on Wednesday, according to a statement on social media platform X by Ariel Henry, prime minister of the Caribbean nation.

The move comes amid international discussions over the possibility of Kenya leading a United Nations-backed multinational security force to help police fight escalating gang warfare in Haiti.

The United Nations Security Council could vote on the multinational force for Haiti in about a week, Brian Nichols, U.S. assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs, said in an interview with Voice of America this week.

Henry’s government first sought international assistance last October, but despite repeated calls from the United Nations, the request went unanswered until Kenya said it was prepared to lead such a group in July.

With scarce resources, Haiti’s police have been battling powerful gangs now estimated to control large parts of the country.

Kenyan President William Ruto and Henry witnessed the signing of the pact establishing ties at the Kenyan mission in New York.

“As the leading nation in the U.N.-backed security mission in Haiti, we are committed to deploying a specialised team,” Ruto said in a statement issued by his office.

The team would assess the situation and prepare strategies to ensure long-term solutions, he added.

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City and George Obulutsa in Nairobi; Editing by Kylie Madry and Clarence Fernandez)