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Haitian PM Ariel Henry Resigns Post Jamaica Talks

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has formally submitted his resignation from the position he held since 2021. The announcement came from Irfaan Ali, the chair of the Caribbean Community and President of Guyana, expressing gratitude for Henry's service to Haiti. The resignation coincided with a period when regional leaders gathered in Jamaica to deliberate on a political transition framework.

Ariel Henry had recently embarked on a trip to Kenya with the aim of securing its leadership in a United Nations-backed international security mission designed to aid in the fight against armed gangs in Haiti. Unfortunately, during his absence, the capital city of Port-au-Prince experienced a significant surge in violence, leaving Henry stranded in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

The decision to step down comes amid ongoing discussions among regional officials in Jamaica, focusing on establishing a transitional presidential council. This council is intended to pave the way for the first elections in Haiti since 2016. The call for a political transition was reinforced by the United States, urging an "expedited" process, while local gangs also demanded Henry's resignation.

A central issue in the talks involves the engagement of various stakeholders, including members of Haiti's political parties, private sector, civil society, and religious groups. The goal is to establish a transition council that can address the immediate needs of the Haitian people, facilitate the deployment of the international security mission, and create the necessary security conditions for free and fair elections.

Ariel Henry, who faced accusations of corruption, had previously postponed scheduled elections, arguing that security concerns must be addressed first. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Monday, emphasized the need for the creation of a "broad-based, inclusive, independent presidential college" tasked with meeting the immediate needs of the Haitian people and ensuring conditions for secure elections.

March 12, 2024 11:27 a.m. 14531

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