U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield cut short her visit to Haiti on Friday after gunshots were heard at the funeral of assassinated President Jovenel Moïse, officials said.
Thomas-Greenfield and the US delegation, which also included US representatives Gregory Meeks from New York and Jeffrey Fortenberry from Nebraka, “arrived safe and sound in the United States,” the State Department confirmed late Friday. -midday.
The trip to Haiti took place at “this critical moment” in the history of the nation when its “leaders must unite to chart a united path that reflects the will of the Haitian people,” said the press secretary of the White House Jen Psaki.
“The presidential delegation is safe and sound, given the shooting reported outside the funeral,” she said. “We are deeply concerned about the unrest in Haiti. “
As the group left earlier than expected, a senior administration official said the ambassador was able to meet Haitian leaders at the funeral, including new Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Claude Joseph, who has just left. his position.
“Our delegation is here to bring a message to the Haitian people: you deserve democracy, stability, security and prosperity, and we are by your side in this time of crisis,” Thomas-Greenfield said in an earlier statement. Friday.
“So, we come here in solidarity with the Haitian people at this difficult time. And also, it is important that we share our condolences with First Lady Martine Moïse and her family. But we also come to show our support for democracy and the democratic process. “
The sound of gunfire was first reported by Reuters.
The funeral of the assassinated president came amid fear among Haitians that the current political instability could lead to more violence in the Caribbean nation.
The wife of the late president, Martine Moïse, paid a last tribute to her husband amid cries of “Justice! Justice!”
Her right arm still in a sling from the deadly bombing of June 26, she put her left hand in the coffin before bringing it to her heart. She watched in tears a moment of silence with their three children.
Outside the ceremony, protesters clashed with police as gunfire erupted and tear gas and black smoke flooded the heavily guarded compound.
The Associated Press contributed.