Core Group signals support for Haiti’s designated PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A key group of international diplomats on Saturday signaled support for Haiti’s designated prime minister in the first such statement of its kind following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse — a move that surprised many because it does not mention the interim prime minister who has actually been running the country.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has been leading Haiti with the backing of police and the military, and has pledged to work with everyone — including designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Joseph Lambert, the head of Haiti’s inactive Senate.

The statement was issued by the Core Group, which is composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The group called for the creation of “a consensual and inclusive government.”

“To this end, it strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” the group said.

Moïse designated Henry as prime minister to replace Joseph a day before he was killed — but Joseph and his allies argue that Henry was never sworn in. Supporters of Lambert recently issued a statement supporting him as the country’s provisional president.

U.S. and U.N. officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Henry and spokespeople for Joseph and the OAS did not immediately return messages for comment.

The group also asked that “all political, economic and civil society actors in the country fully support authorities in their efforts to restore security.”

The statement comes more than a week after Moïse was killed by gunmen who raided his private home in an attack that authorities say involved Haitians, Haitian-Americans and former Colombian soldiers.