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October 23, 2000


There is hesitant progress in the Organization of American States (OAS) bid to resolve electoral differences in Haiti, Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi reported today.

Ambassador Einaudi, who ended his third special mission to Haiti at the weekend, told the Organization's Permanent Council that the Haitian government and the Convergence Démocratique -- a grouping of opposition political forces -- had reached "substantial" agreement on security issues and on special measures to strengthen the country's democracy. A "surprising amount of agreement" was also noted as regards "the need for an electoral council to manage the elections and to ensure proper representation on that council."

However, "even more substantial" differences remained--notably over the relative priority to accord to resolving questions arising from the May 21 elections as compared to the need to hold presidential elections, currently set for next November 26, Einaudi reported.

He said that despite their articulated concerns, the ruling Lavalas Family Party and the Convergence had written to thank the OAS for its role in fostering the dialogue. Last Tuesday's meeting was "remarkable in that it was the first time that the majority party--Famille Lavalas--had sat down for face-to-face dialogue with members of the opposition, and vice versa," declared Einaudi, who described that discussion as constructive and disciplined.

After Haiti's Alternate Representative Jean Ricot Dormeus thanked the OAS for its important role facilitating political dialogue in his country, a number of the member state Ambassadors took the floor to support the Organization's role and that of the international community.