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OAS to Send Special Mission to Haiti to Assess Situation following Suspension of Elections

  January 27, 2016

The Organization of American States (OAS) will send a Special Mission to assess the situation in Haiti in response to a request by Haitian President Michel Martelly, according to an agreement reached today by the Permanent Council of the institution.

The Chair of the Council and Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Ronald Sanders, specified that the Mission will be sent by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and that its work will include engaging in “a dialogue with all appropriate parties.” The Secretary General said that the “mandate and the limits” under which the Mission will act “must be set by the legitimate government of Haiti at this moment. Any other action beyond that would be an intervention that Haiti does not want, and that we want even less.”

Secretary General Almagro explained that the successful conclusion of the electoral process in Haiti is critically important, and therefore the dates for the second round of voting in the presidential elections should be set as soon as possible. “It is of fundamental importance that there be an election, and not a plebiscite or a referendum on a single candidate,” he said. Meanwhile, he added, “Haitians should agree on a mechanism for a clearly defined period of time, as short as possible,” within a plan endorsed by the Supreme Court of Justice.

For his part, the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Bocchit Edmond, said the request by his government for a high level OAS mission was motivated by “the goal of helping the actors to get together to avoid the country falling into an institutional vacuum and chaos.”

Reference: E-004/16