A spokesman said on Monday that the new prime minister, with the support of key international diplomats, will take charge of Haiti – a move that appears to have been aimed at preventing a struggle for leadership following the assassination of President Jovenal Moise.
Ariel Henry, who was appointed Prime Minister Moise before his assassination but was never sworn in, will replace the country’s interim prime minister, Haitian Election Minister Mathias Pierre told The Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear how quickly Claude Joseph, who had led Haiti with police and military support since the July 7 assassination, would step down.
“Negotiations are still ongoing,” Pierre said, adding that Joseph would return to the post of foreign minister. There was no immediate comment from Joseph.
In the audio recording, Henry identified himself as prime minister and called for unity, saying that he would soon announce members of the so-called interim consensus government who will lead the country until elections are held.
“I convey my compliments to the people of Haiti, who have shown political maturity in the face of what could be considered a coup. … Our Haitian brothers gave the world a chance, but left the possibility that the truth might one day be restored, ”Henry said.
“Now all national leaders must walk together in unity, towards one goal, in order to show their responsibility.”
The political turnaround followed a statement Saturday by a key group of international diplomats that seemed to scoff at Joseph as it called for a “consensus and inclusive government.”
“To this end, he strongly recommends that Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry continue his mission of forming such a government,” the Core Group said in a statement.
The core group consists of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the European Union, and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
On Monday, the UN issued a statement urging Joseph, Henry and other stakeholders in the country to “put aside differences and engage in constructive dialogue on ways to break the current impasse.”
The UN added that Joseph and Henry have made significant progress over the past week and are maintaining dialogue to find a “minimum consensus” for fair legislative and presidential elections.
Monique Klesca, a Haitian writer, activist and former UN official, said she does not expect any changes under Henry, who she expects will continue Moses’ legacy. But she warned that Heinrich could be considered spoiled because of the international support that preceded his rise to power.
“There is not only the perception, but the reality that the international community has put him there, and I think this is his burden that he must carry,” she said.
“We urge Haitians to really declare that this is unacceptable. We do not want the international community to declare who should be in power and what should be done. It depends on us. “
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the Biden administration “welcomes reports that Haitian politicians are working together to shape the way forward in the country.”
“We have been urging Haitian politicians for days to work together and find the political path forward,” she said.
Earlier, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US would continue to work with Joseph, noting that he held this position and served as acting prime minister prior to the assassination.
The Core Group’s statement was released hours after Moise’s wife, Martin, arrived in Haiti on Saturday aboard a private jet wearing black and bulletproof vest after being discharged from a hospital in Miami. She has not made any statements or made public appearances since her return to Haiti, as the government prepares for the 23 July funeral in the northern city of Cap Haitien. More events are scheduled to commemorate Mois before the funeral this week in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Moses appointed Henry prime minister shortly before he was assassinated, but he was not sworn in. The neurosurgeon was formerly the Minister of Social Affairs and the Minister of the Interior. He belonged to several political parties, including Inite, founded by former President Rene Preval.
The upcoming change of leadership comes as authorities continue to investigate the July 7 attack on Mois’s private home using powerful rifles, which seriously injured his wife.
Authorities say more than 20 suspects directly involved in the murder have been arrested. Most of them are former Colombian soldiers, most of whom, according to the Colombian authorities, were deceived. Three more suspects have been killed, and police are still looking for new ones, including the ex-leader of the Haitian rebel and a former Haitian senator.