Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances Republicans press Biden administration to maintain sanctions against Taliban The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden travels west as Washington troubles mount MORE will lead a six-person presidential delegation to attend the funeral of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Friday, President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE announced.

The delegation will consist of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michael Sison, newly announced special envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez and a bipartisan pair of lawmakers: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksGroups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Meeks on being mistaken for a staffer: 'Glad I still blend in with the cool kids' Blinken grilled in first hearing since Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban US delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral MORE (R-Neb.).

The delegation will “pay respects upon the death of His Excellency Jovenel Moïse, Former President of the Republic of Haiti,” the White House said. 

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A U.S. government official said the delegation will attend the state funeral for Moïse and also meet with Haitian stakeholders to “encourage an inclusive dialogue and consensus-based government.”

“The delegation will reiterate the United States' commitment to working with Haiti’s new government to support its investigation into the assassination of President Moïse, expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and promote security and the rule of law, and will urge members of Haiti’s new government to work with civil society to find solutions to the many pressing challenges facing Haiti and facilitate long-term stability and prosperity,” the official said.

“The delegation will also emphasize that preserving and strengthening Haiti’s democratic institutions will be crucial to restoring peace, and that Haitian authorities must uphold the rule of law, tackle corruption, and deliver justice to victims of human rights abuses,” the official added.

Both Thomas-Greenfield and Meeks on Thursday took part in a virtual dialogue with civil society representatives in Haiti that was hosted by the U.S. ambassador in Haiti ahead of traveling to the country.

A state funeral for Moïse is being held in the city of Cap-Haïtien on Friday. The area has been rocked by protests leading up to the funeral for the slain president, who was assassinated at his residence earlier this month, a development that shocked the globe and sent Haiti further into turmoil.

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The State Department announced on Thursday that Foote, a career member of the foreign service, would serve as a new special envoy to Haiti to facilitate peace and stability in the country and support efforts to hold free and fair elections.

The Biden administration has also offered assistance to authorities investigating Moïse’s assassination but resisted a request from then-interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph to send troops to protect the country’s critical infrastructure. 

Earlier this week, Joseph agreed to hand over power to Ariel Henry, who had been named the new prime minister shortly before Moïse’s assassination.

The U.S. has welcomed the development. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Diplomats express 'frustration' to Blinken over Havana syndrome skepticism: report Biden's post-Afghanistan focus on China is mostly positive so far MORE spoke with Henry on Thursday and “reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting the Haitian people following the heinous assassination” of the country’s president, the State Department said.

The U.S. delegation will be the second to visit Haiti since the Haitian president’s assassination. An interagency group met with Haitian authorities and political leaders on July 11 to assess how the U.S. could assist the Haitian government.

Updated at 9:44 a.m.