US expects Haiti’s transition council to be appointed in 48 hours

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The United States expects members of Haiti’s transition council will be appointed in the next 24-48 hours, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday (March 12).

Miller’s comments come after Haiti’s unelected prime minister, Ariel Henry, said on Monday he would step down.

The council will then take steps to appoint an interim prime minister of Haiti, Miller told reporters, adding that Washington expects an agreement would be reached in the very near future.

The streets of Port-au-Prince looked quiet on Tuesday morning after the last few turbulent days. People crowded into a petrol station after days of shortages while another group of people in the Nazon neighbourhood lined up to fill containers with water.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, stranded in Puerto Rico, released a recorded video late on Monday night pledging to resign as soon as a transition council and temporary leader could be chosen.

But it was not clear when this might happen. Security conditions in capital Port-au-Prince remain dire, with armed men controlling the airport and key infrastructure, while doubts still linger over the timing of plans to deploy an international mission to boost outgunned local police and restore order.

Henry, who had led the Caribbean country since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, traveled to Kenya in late February to secure its support for the long-delayed United Nations-backed security mission.

Haitians had protested his continued rule and Washington had called on Henry to accelerate a transition to a structure that would pave the way for free and fair elections.

Following his announcement, some Haitians celebrated in the streets of the capital, and some prominent Haitians also expressed hope that conditions can now improve.

The planned presidential transition council, announced after high-level meetings of Caribbean leaders in Jamaica on Monday, is aimed at representing diverse sectors of Haitian society.

It will be tasked with appointing an interim prime minister and establishing a provisional electoral council to facilitate elections, which would be Haiti’s first since 2016.