Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Canada “reduced to the essentials” diplomatic staff at its embassy in Haiti

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Haitian soldiers patrolled the road near the Port-au-Prince airport on Wednesday.

The Canadian Press

Canada prepares to reduce the number of diplomats at its embassy in Haiti, citing an increasingly unstable security situation in this country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, indicated Thursday that the government had decided to limit staff at the Port-au-Prince embassy to essential employees only.

Other countries had also evacuated their non-essential personnel out of Haiti over the past week.

On Tuesday, Canada's ambassador to Haiti said no employees had been evacuated, although some deemed non-essential were working outside the country because gangs had taken control from the main airport.

Global Affairs Canada says it made this decision due to the volatility of the situation, the lack of resources; reliable supply and the need to ensure an effective presence in an unstable context.

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Minister Joly specifies that this temporary reduction will make it possible to maintain a presence in Haiti given the limited availability of food.

We are committed to supporting Haiti and the Haitian people, today and in the long term, writes the minister on platform X. Our immediate priority remains the safety of Canadians and this intervention will ensure it.

Global Affairs Canada adds that it will temporarily transfer non-essential personnel to an unidentified third country, where they will work remotely.

Two days ago, Haitian Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry agreed to resign once a transitional presidential council is formed to oversee a Kenyan-led international military intervention.

Haiti has been plunged into a deep security crisis since mid-2021, when gangs took control of key infrastructure and sparked violent internecine wars which led to the collapse of most of the country's medical and food systems.

The head honcho of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie told The Canadian Press last December that the government had prepared an evacuation plan for Haiti last year, but never used it.

Canadians were evacuated from Israel following Hamas attacks on October 7, and others were evacuated from Sudan in the spring last while fighting raged in this country.

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