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Key diplomats appear to snub Haiti’s acting leader

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By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  — A key group of international diplomats on Saturday appeared to snub the man currently running Haiti by urging another politician, the designated prime minister, to form a government following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has been leading Haiti with the backing of police and the military despite the fact that Moïse had announced his replacement a day before the president was killed.

Joseph and his allies argue that the designated successor, Ariel Henry, was never sworn in, though he pledged to work with him and with Joseph Lambert, the head of Haiti’s inactive Senate.

The statement was issued by the Core Group, which is composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The group called for the creation of “a consensual and inclusive government.”

“To this end, it strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” the group said.

U.S. and U.N. officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Henry and spokespeople for Joseph and the OAS did not immediately return messages for comment.

The group also asked that “all political, economic and civil society actors in the country fully support authorities in their efforts to restore security.”

Moïse was killed on July 7 by gunmen who raided his private home in an attack that authorities say involved Haitians, Haitian-Americans and former Colombian soldiers.

A day later, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that Joseph was the incumbent in the position and was serving as acting prime minister before the assassination: “We continue to work with Claude Joseph as such,” he said.

On July 11, a delegation of representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and National Security Council traveled to Haiti. They reviewed critical infrastructure, talked with Haitian National Police and met with Joseph, Henry and Lambert in a joint meeting.

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