By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Haitian President Jovenel Moise's assassination, while the U.N. Security Council expressed deep shock, sorrow and sympathy over Moise's death ahead of a likely meeting on Thursday.
"The perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice," Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Wednesday. "The United Nations will continue to stand with the Government and the people of Haiti."
Speaking for the Security Council, French U.N. Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere, president for July, said the council would likely meet on Thursday to be briefed on the assassination.
"We all knew it was sensitive and difficult on the ground in Haiti, in view of the political situation and the security situation. This puts that in even graver danger than before," Ireland's U.N. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason told reporters.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met with her Haitian counterpart on Wednesday.
"Those responsible for this heinous act must be brought to justice. The United States echoes calls for calm, and we are committed to working together to support democracy, rule of law, and peace in Haiti," she said in a statement.
Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph urged the Security Council to meet as soon as possible and called on the "international community to launch an investigation into the assassination."
The Security Council last week said in a statement it was deeply concerned by the "political, security, and humanitarian conditions in Haiti and stressed the primary responsibility of the government of Haiti to address the situation."
A U.N. political mission is in Haiti to work with the government to strengthen political stability and good governance, human rights protection and justice reform and to help with the holding of free and fair elections.
U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 after a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was the only U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Americas until it was closed in 2019.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Franklin Paul and Howard Goller)