Will Beijing go so far as to veto the text drafted by the United States with the assistance of Mexico?
Obtained by AFP, the version finalized late Thursday of this draft “calls on member states to prohibit the transfer of small arms and light weapons and ammunition to non-state actors engaged in or supporting gang violence, crimes or human rights violations in Haiti”.
A Chinese counter-draft on Wednesday proposed that the Security Council “decide (…) that member states implement an embargo on small arms and light weapons and ammunition” against those who participate in or support gangs in Haiti. .
In its proposals, China also demanded that the UN Security Council be able to impose individual sanctions (asset freezes, travel bans) against gang leaders within 30 days of the adoption of the resolution. The US-Mexico text limits itself to considering this possibility within 90 days.
These diplomatic negotiations come as the Haitian authorities made a rare seizure of weapons at the port of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The Haitian customs administration indicated Thursday evening that it had already got hold of “18 weapons of war, 4 9mm pistols, 14,646 cartridges, 140 magazines, a sight and 50,000 US dollars in the first of the three targeted containers. in false”.
Several arrest warrants have been issued against individuals suspected of being linked to the arrival of this shipment in Haiti.
If Haiti remains under pressure to initiate a political process leading without delay to presidential and legislative elections, a mention wanted by Beijing to ask the UN chief to study with Latin American countries the sending of a force regional police to support the Haitian security forces does not appear in the text of Washington and Mexico.
The latter is limited to asking Antonio Guterres to study with countries in the region “the possible options” to strengthen security in Haiti, with a report to be submitted on October 15.
At least 89 people have been killed in a week in clashes between gangs in Port-au-Prince, where prices are soaring and fuel shortages are getting worse, threatening crucial humanitarian aid for residents.
– Haiti and Taiwan –
“The situation in Haiti could not be worse” with “the violence of the gangs which intensifies in Port-au-Prince”, had indicated Thursday afternoon to AFP a spokeswoman for the Chinese diplomatic mission to the country. ‘UN. “An arms embargo against criminal gangs is the minimum the Council should do in response to an appalling situation,” she added at the time.
According to diplomats, the United States and Mexico, in approaching the negotiations, had not planned to go as far as what China proposed on the occasion of the renewal of the mandate of the UN political mission Binuh, which expires Friday evening.
But Washington is not against sanctions, one of them told AFP on condition of anonymity. It only has to be the right ones, he added, also judging that the imposition of an arms embargo cannot be done without a separate resolution including the creation of a sanctions committee and a group of UN experts in charge of their application.
All this “deserves more work”, insisted this source.
On the Haitian file, Beijing has become a key player at the UN in recent years. The reason? A Chinese desire for reprisals, assure Western diplomats, after the recognition of Taiwan by Port-au-Prince. Beijing denies establishing any link between the two subjects.
At UN meetings, however, China is increasingly virulent in denouncing a country that is sinking into political and economic crisis, despite multiple international aid and various peacekeeper missions until October. 2019.
In Haiti, we must fight against arms trafficking, push the political authorities to emerge from their lethargy and threaten legal sanctions against those responsible for the violence, said an anonymous Chinese diplomatic source to AFP.
The US-Mexico draft text “demands the immediate cessation of gang violence and criminal activity”. It provides for a renewal of the Binuh until July 15, 2023, while the versions discussed so far were counting on October 15, 2023.