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By Michelle Nichols

The United Nations Security Council on Friday called for security assistance to Haiti, including the deployment of a special force requested by the Haitian government last year to fight gang violence.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has backed Haiti, proposing that one or more states send a “rapid action force” as the Caribbean nation struggles to fight the violent gangs that overran its capital, Port-au-Prince, last year.

While there has been broad support for a fast-track force with several countries interested in contributing, none have been willing to lead the deal, diplomats said.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Friday to renew the UN political mission in Haiti for another 12 months. The resolution also supported calls for security assistance to the Haitian police.

The 15-member council “encourages member states, including local countries, to provide security support to the Haitian National Police … including through the deployment of special forces.”

Guterres also called on Haiti to submit a report to the council within 30 days of consultations, including options for UN support, including “support for a non-UN multilateral force or peacekeeping operation.”

In October last year, Guterres did not propose the deployment of force by the United Nations.

In 2004, UN peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti during an uprising that led to the ouster and exile of then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Peacekeepers

Countries are wary of supporting the administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has said that fair elections cannot be held due to the current security crisis. Haiti has been without elected representatives since January.

In the year Henry, who took office in July 2021, days after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. They promised to withdraw from the elections on February 7, 2024, first after the earthquake in August 2021 and then after gang violence.

(Reporting by Michelle Nicholls; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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