Biden calls Kenya's leader Ruto ahead of Haiti mission

Wednesday October 04 2023

US President Joe Biden (L) and Kenya’s President William Ruto pose for a picture. PHOTO | AFP


Kenya's President William Ruto had a telephone conversation with his United States counterpart Joe Biden on Tuesday night, during which the later thanked the leader for Kenya's agreement to lead a UN-backed multinational security mission in gang-ridden Haiti.

The conversation took place at around 8pm, with Biden also congratulating President Ruto on the successful hosting of last month's Africa Climate Summit, where the continent found a common voice on climate change that will be at the forefront of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Dubai in November.

The two leaders welcomed the successful vote at the UN Security Council to approve Kenya's request to lead the mission.

"President Joe Biden spoke today with Kenya's leader William Ruto to thank him for responding to Haiti's call to serve as the lead nation for the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission. They also welcomed successful vote at the UN Security Council authorising the MSS to bring relief to the people of Haiti who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals," said a readout of the conversation released by the US white house. 

Ruto had earlier pledged at the UN General Assembly that Kenya was more prepared to restore peace and stability to the people of Haiti who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals.

Read: Ruto urges UN to back security support for Haiti


In addition to the Haiti mission and the Africa Climate Summit, the two presidents also discussed other ways to promote regional security and mutual prosperity through new investment, jobs and sustainable growth.

"We will continue to work on regional security, conflict resolution and counterterrorism to ensure that the Horn of Africa has the space to focus on social and economic progress," Ruto said after the talks. 

The US has promised to support the mission financially and in other ways, a pledge made in a recent agreement between Kenyan Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin Lloyd J. Austin III.

Kenya said it was ready to send 1,000 troops to Haiti by January, to be joined by other troops from other countries who will join the mission.

The Haitian government led by Prime Minister Ariel Henry is under severe threat from organised gangs that have taken over the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Read: Haitian PM says was targeted in assassination attempt

The violence in Haiti has also affected children and led to the kidnapping of people, including foreigners on mission.