State Department doesn’t believe kidnapping of American nurse in Haiti connected to travel advisory

United States State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller fields questions from journalists on July 31, 2023.
United States State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller fields questions from journalists on July 31, 2023. | YouTube/U.S. Department of State

State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday that he does not believe that the abduction of an American nurse and her child from a Christian education ministry in Haiti last Thursday is connected to the department’s issuance of a Level 4 Travel Advisory that same day telling Americans to leave for the Caribbean nation soon as possible.

“I have no reason to believe there is [a connection],” Miller said, responding to journalists at a press briefing held at the State Department in Washington.

New Hampshire nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her child were kidnapped from the El Roi Haiti education ministry founded by her husband, Sandro Dorsainvil, near the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. That same day, the State Department issued a travel advisory asking Americans not to travel to Haiti, ordering all U.S. Citizens and non-emergency government employees to leave as soon as possible.

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A Level 4 Travel advisory is “the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks."

“During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so," reads a Safety and Security Information document from the State Department. "The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.”

American nurse Alix Dorsainvil
American nurse Alix Dorsainvil | Vimeo/ERH

Miller reiterated a previous statement about kidnapping, noting that the State Department is aware of the situation are officials are “in regular contact with the Haitian authorities.”

“We will continue to work with them and our U.S. government interagency partners, but because it's an ongoing law enforcement investigation, there's nothing more detail[ed] I can offer.”

When questioned about who is holding the nurse and her child and whether or not any demands have been made of the U.S. government, Miller called the request “inappropriate.”

“I just think it would be inappropriate to comment on details. You shouldn't read into that one way or the other what the answer might be. Because it's an ongoing law enforcement situation, those are obviously quite sensitive. I just don't want to comment on [it],” Miller said.

On Saturday, Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua wrote in a statement on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter, that they would consider leading a multinational force to help stabilize Haiti.

“At the request of Friends of Haiti Group of Nations, Kenya has accepted to positively consider leading a Multinational Force to Haiti. Kenya's commitment is to deploy a contingent of 1,000 police officers to help train and assist Haitian police restore normalcy in the country and protect strategic installations," Muta said. 

"Kenya stands with persons of African descent across the world, including those in the Caribbean, and aligns with the African Union's diaspora policy and our own commitment to Pan Africanism, and in this case to ‘reclaiming of the Atlantic crossing.'"

Muta said the proposed deployment would "crystalize" after a mandate from the United Nations Security Council is obtained and other "Kenyan constitutional processes are undertaken."

"An Assessment Mission by a Task Team of the Kenya Police is scheduled within the next few weeks. This assessment will inform and guide the mandate and operational requirements of the Mission," the Kenyan foreign minister added. 

American nurse Alix Dorsainvil (R), and her husband, Sandro Dorsainvil (L), founder and director of the El Roi Academy and Institution Mixte Vwatizang Ayisyen Yo, a Christian ministry in Haiti.
American nurse Alix Dorsainvil (R), and her husband, Sandro Dorsainvil (L), founder and director of the El Roi Academy and Institution Mixte Vwatizang Ayisyen Yo, a Christian ministry in Haiti. | El Roi Haiti

Haitian Foreign Minister Jean Victor Geneus welcomed the offer on Sunday, noting, according to Agence France-Presse, that the country “looks forward to welcoming Kenya's proposed evaluation mission."

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, also noted in a press briefing Monday that Guterres welcomed the response from Kenya.

“The Secretary-General welcomes Kenya’s positive response to his call for the urgently needed international non-UN security support to Haiti. He values Kenya’s consideration to possibly lead a non-UN multinational force, and he expresses his gratitude for the solidarity expressed by the Kenyan government,” he said, noting that Guterres is also urging the U.N. Security Council to support the force.

Miller said that the U.S. will be a party to the talks of a proposed multinational force in Haiti and will assist as necessary.

“Let me say there are a couple of things that need to happen as next steps before we get to addressing some of those questions. First, the U.N. Security Council needs to pass a resolution authorizing this mission. United States along with Ecuador are going to introduce a resolution at the U.N. Security Council to take that step," Miller said. 

"That's the first step that needs to happen. The second step is that the Government of Kenya needs to conduct an assessment mission, which they plan to do in the coming days and weeks. And then once they have conducted that assessment mission, they as the lead [in] this multinational force, will talk with other partners about what additional type of assistance they need, what other countries might participate."

“They'll kick off a series of discussions of which the United States will of course, be a party," he continued. "We are committed to finding the resources to support this multinational force. I think it's too early to get into any details about what those resources might be. But after the Kenyans have conducted their initial assessment mission, we will of course, be in contact with them about what it might look like.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already spoken with Kenyan President William Ruto “about how we might coordinate this work," Miller stated. 

When asked why the U.S. is not taking the lead role in leading the multinational force, Miller said there are other ways the administration believes it better help the situation.

“We just thought there were other ways in which we could be supportive, that would be both more appropriate and more useful than taking the lead role,” he said. “We have been committed to the safety and security of the Haitian people. We've been a large humanitarian donor to relief efforts in Haiti for some time, and we have worked behind the scenes to find the lead nation to run this multinational force and are pleased that has been successful.”

Miller said the best thing Americans can do at this time is to heed the travel warnings.

“I think the situation [in Haiti] has been challenging for some time,” he said. “That's not been a secret of any kind. We've talked openly about it. We have recommended that U.S. citizens do not travel to Haiti for some time.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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