US presidential delegation to the funeral of murdered Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, led by US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, was forced to cut short its visit to Haiti and return to the United States after reports of gunshots outside the ceremony location on Friday, The Hill reports.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters that the presidential delegation is safe and on their way back to the United States after the reported shootings, expressing deep concern about the unrest in Haiti and emphasizing the US remain committed to supporting the people of Haiti in this challenging time.
As the funeral service for Moïse began, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the private residence, but when the shots erupted and tear gas and black smoke wafted into the ceremony, the US delegation and other dignitaries, including the UN’s special representative to Haiti, Helen La Lime, with her entourage, were hurried to vehicles.
However, Thomas-Greenfield was able to meet with Haitian leaders at the funeral before departing, including newly sworn in Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Expressing solidarity with the Haitian people, Greenfield said upon the delegation’s arrival in Haiti that the purpose of their visit was to bring a message to the Haitian people that they deserve democracy, stability, security, and prosperity.