Haiti’s interim prime minister agrees to step aside

Haiti’s incumbent prime minister, who has been in charge of the country since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated 12 days ago, has agreed to step aside under diplomatic pressure and hand over power to a rival.

Claude Joseph he said On Monday the Washington Post handed over power to Ariel Henry, who had been appointed by Moses as prime minister two days before the assassination but was not sworn in.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power,” Joseph told the newspaper. “The president was a friend to me. I’m just interested in seeing justice for him. ”

Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s election minister, confirmed the news, saying Joseph would return to his post as foreign minister. A new government will be sworn in on Tuesday, he said.

Henry, a 71-year-old surgeon, had reiterated his claim to the prime minister’s job in a recording released Sunday. He described the assassination as a “coup d’etat”, vowed to bring those responsible to justice and praised the Haitian people for their “political maturity”.

Joseph’s decision to step aside came a few days after a group of ambassadors and foreign envoys, who had supported him immediately after the assassination, appeared to change their minds and shed their weight behind Henry.

In a statement, the so-called “Core Group” – which includes representatives from the United States, France, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Canada, the EU, the UN and the Organization of American States – stressed the need for a “consensus and inclusive government” put together by “Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry.” They encouraged Henry to continue “the mission entrusted to him to form such a government.”

Moïse was assassinated by a successful team that broke out in his private residence on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince and fired 12 bullets at him. His wife Martine was seriously injured in the attack and flew to Florida for treatment.

She returned to the Caribbean nation the weekend before her husband’s funeral, which is set to be Friday.

The assassination has plunged Haiti, the poorest nation in America, into chaos as politicians, business leaders and powerful gang leaders fight for power amid spiraling violence and poverty. of food and fuel. Moses ’widow accused her dead husband’s domestic opponents of organizing the killings for political and business reasons.

Joseph had urged the UN and the US to intervene by sending troops to help guard critical installations, but international powers are keen on a deeper engagement in Haiti, which has struggled to find stability after decades of political turmoil and repeated calamities. natural.

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