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US, Canada May Mount Haiti Intervention

FI:LE: Police officers take position as they take part in an anti-gang operation amid gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 3, 2023.

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said talks were still underway on an intervention force for crisis-ravaged Haiti, with discussions expected with Canada during President Joe Biden's visit starting Thursday.

Despite pleas for urgency, months have passed since Haitian leaders and the United Nations first called for a new international mission to stabilize the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, which has been wracked by gang violence, declining public health and political instability.

"There's been discussion of some kind of multinational force at the United Nations," Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, "a discussion that we're actively participating in."

"The president will be going to Canada tonight, in fact, where we'll pursue conversations with the Canadian government about what we might do together along with other countries - CARICOM countries, countries in the region - to support that," Blinken said, referring to the bloc of Caribbean nations.

But Blinken reiterated that the extent of US involvement would be bolstering the fledgling Haitian National Police, which he said was not "properly resourced."

The United States has a long history of intervention in Haiti, but Biden has made clear he is reluctant to deploy troops overseas and ended the Afghanistan war early in his term.