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US, EU diplomats back rival to Haiti's acting PM

July 17, 2021

"Core Group" ambassadors have urged Ariel Henry, designated as PM by President Moise before his death, to form a government. The move seems to bypass the current acting leader, Claude Joseph.

Claude Joseph talking into a microphone
Claude Joseph, the interim prime minister of Haiti, seems to have been snubbed by key diplomatsImage: Estailove St-Val/REUTERS

Key envoys and representatives on Saturday seemed to go over the head of Haiti's current acting leader by calling on another politician to form a government following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

In a statement, the so-called Core Group urged Ariel Henry, who was designated prime minister by President Jovenel Moise shortly before his July 7 assassination, to form a "consensual and inclusive government."

By so doing, the group, composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the US, France and the EU along with representatives from the UN and the Organization of American States, seemed to snub Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

Two PMs and no working parliament

Joseph, who had been acting prime minister up to Moise's death, has managed to stay in power after the assassination. He and his allies argue that Henry, though designated, was not sworn in as prime minister. Joseph has the support of the police and military.

Henry, the former foreign minister, has also asserted that he is the rightful acting prime minister of the country, but neither he nor Joseph have been confirmed in the office, as Haiti has not had a functioning legislature since early 2020.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for September 26.

Moise was killed in a raid on his home by gunmen who were said by authorities to include Haitians, Haitian-Americans and former Colombian soldiers.

tj/dj (dpa, AP)