SPECIAL MISSION TO HAITI PRESENTS "GREAT OPPORTUNITY"
Organization of American States' (OAS) new Special Mission to Strengthen
Democracy in Haiti presents a "great opportunity" to
contribute to a resolution of the political crisis and to "do more
than we are doing for Haitian democracy," OAS Secretary General CÚsar
Gaviria said today.
said the Special Mission, which will address issues related to security,
justice, human rights and governance, has received broad support from
the international community, including OAS member states, observer
countries and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank. The level of support reflects the
widespread concern about the problems facing democracy in Haiti, Gaviria
told the OAS Permanent Council.
said that in the last two months he and Assistant Secretary General
Luigi Einaudi had undertaken extensive consultations on Haiti issues,
the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
addition to the Special Mission, the OAS has created a Commission of
Inquiry, which will
examine the circumstances surrounding the politically related
violence of last December 17 and make recommendations to the Haitian
authorities based on its independent findings of fact. A separate
advisory council will evaluate the issue of reparations to victims of
the violence. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also plans
to send a delegation to report on the human rights situation.
Ambassador to the OAS, Raymond Valcin, today said his government is
committed to work closely with the OAS and to "honor its
obligations" under OAS resolutions. Valcin said that his government
would provide security for the OAS representatives in Haiti and that
despite Haiti's economic problems, his country would contribute $25,000
to the Special Mission.
Ambassador Lisa Shoman of Belize, speaking on behalf of CARICOM,
commended the Haitian government for its "effective
cooperation" with OAS efforts in putting together the Special
Mission. She called on "all concerned to remain actively engaged in
the efforts to move forward to a peaceful and constructive solution to
Ambassador Roger Noriega, for his part, said the United States will
support the OAS Special Mission and is prepared "to respond
bilaterally to positive acts on the ground in Haiti." He stressed
that Haitian officials must undertake "concrete actions" to
make the resumption of political negotiations possible and said Haiti
"cannot afford to squander any more opportunities."
Alternate Permanent Representative, Gwen Kutz, stressed that the Special
Mission to Haiti "is a collective responsibility of the
inter-American community" and pledged her country's support. She
noted that Canadian diplomat David Lee will head the Special Mission and
said Canada would offer the services of other specialists, including
high-ranking officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who could
share their expertise in security.
Permanent Council session was chaired by Ambassador Margarita Escobar of
El Salvador, who noted the "encouraging and positive tone" of
Gaviria's report on Haiti and urged all member states to support OAS
efforts in that country.