Media Center



November 6, 2002 - Washington, DC


· The U.S. deeply appreciates the work of the OAS Special Mission to Strengthen Democracy in Haiti and of Ambassador David Lee, Chief of the Mission.

· As ASYG Einaudi’s statement indicates, the Special Mission is playing a key role by monitoring and supporting the Government of Haiti’s follow-through on its commitments under OAS Resolution 822. We thank him for his oral report and look forward to receiving as quickly as possible the written report in compliance with the mandate to provide written reports every two months. We continue to strongly support the Special Mission in its work.

· We believe that the OAS Special Mission is an ideal vehicle to support long-term democratic growth in Haiti, and we urge member states and, indeed, the entire international community to maintain maximum support for the OAS Special Mission.

Resolution 822

· With respect to Resolution 822, we take note today of the passing of the benchmark for formation of the Provisional Electoral Council. We are disappointed that the CEP has not been formed. However, we are also concerned that the formation of an independent, neutral and credible CEP be done properly and with participation by a diverse section of the Haitian people, as set forth in the OAS draft Initial Accord of June 12.

· We see the formation of an independent, neutral and credible CEP as a critical first step toward the organization of fair elections. A multi-sectoral, diverse CEP would provide an excellent forum for resolving problems among the political parties and for creating the appropriate climate for elections, including a climate of security--one of the key areas where we believe more progress must be made.

· As I said in a speech which I made last week to the Inter-American Dialogue and distributed to all OAS Missions, my Government is very concerned about Haiti. Some of my remarks, which have been taken out of context, reflected serious bilateral concerns.

· But I also expressed our concern that the record of the Haitian Government in complying with its commitments under OAS Resolution 822 is discouraging. We do not believe that the Government of Haiti has taken the steps necessary, or anticipated, to create the conditions needed for all sides to agree on the formation of a CEP within the 60-day period, as it committed to do under Resolution 822.

· In particular, we note that the Government of Haiti should make more progress on its commitments to:

o Ensure a climate of security;
o Investigate the acts of violence related to December 17, 2001;
o Prosecute those responsible;
o Make full, not partial, reparations to the victims, and
o Develop and implement, with the OAS Special Mission, an effective disarmament program.


· In this respect, we are encouraged that the Government of Haiti has responded to the written request of organizations whose participation in the CEP is essential that President Aristide formally request the international community for assistance in developing disarmament, elections and security plans. It was clear to all of us when we negotiated Resolution 822 in September that such initiatives would be essential. Two months have now passed. Work should begin forthwith to develop these plans.

· At the same time, it is essential that all sides act soon to follow through both on the letter and spirit of their commitment in the draft initial accord to form the CEP and work towards free and fair elections next year.

· The participation of representative groups in the CEP—as set forth in the OAS draft Initial Accord--is critical. A CEP that does not have these elements will lack the inclusiveness necessary for it to be accepted as independent, neutral and credible by both domestic and international observers.

· As long as all parties are committed to the goal of free and fair elections and as long as progress is being made along these lines in forming the CEP, we should be willing to accept a short delay agreed to by all sides.

· At the same time, we call on the Government of Haiti to recommit itself and show more concrete progress on fulfilling its commitments under Resolution 822.

· We also want to underscore the importance of formation of an independent, neutral and credible CEP as the first step in a long-term process. The CEP needs both political and financial independence. On the political side, this means that the Government must not interfere with the CEP as it carries out its mandate.

· To sum up, what we want from the Government of Haiti is results—concrete actions to resolve Haiti’s political impasse. The CEP needs to be formed soon, and needs to be representative of all the sectors, as set forth in the June 12 OAS draft Initial Accord.

Financial Needs of the OAS Special Mission

· On the financial side, I would appeal to our OAS partners to take steps to support the CEP, financially and materially, once it’s formed. I know how difficult this can be, given the competition for scarce resources, but the costs of not supporting the CEP and a fair Haitian electoral process could be even higher. The U.S. will provide its share of the needed support.

· We also encourage all Friends of Haiti to consider providing additional financial support for the Special Mission so it can fulfill its important mandate of bringing democracy and political stability to Haiti.

· The USG has provided major funding for the Special Mission - US$1.5 million thus far with at least another US$1 million planned for this year. The OAS special Mission faces huge challenges. It deserves—and requires--the support of member and observer states and of the Friends of Haiti.

· In conclusion, we need to be very clear on one central point. Resolution 822 set forth the commitments the Government of Haiti has made to the OAS, to member states, and to its own people. We are not making any new demands of the Government this morning. We are only asking the Government of Haiti t fulfill the commitments it has already made to further democracy in Haiti and promote the well-being of the Haitian people.

· At the same time, we call on all Haitian political parties and civil society to fulfill their commitments under Resolution 822 and to form a neutral, credible and independent CEP as quickly as possible as a first step towards free and fair elections.

Subsequent Remarks at the Permanent Council Meeting

· My delegation played a central role in drafting Resolution 822, which had the effect of delinking assistance from the IFI’s from the search for a political accord. It was expected, when that resolution was approved, that the Government of Haiti would meet certain obligations—a good number of which had been made many, many months ago.

· The Ambassador of Guyana has commented that Resolution 822 called on many sectors to act “simultaneously.” When we approved Resolution 822, we did so for a number of reasons, including the lack of confidence and sense of insecurity on the part of political parties generated by acts of violence in Haiti.

· It was therefore understood that the 60-day period prior to the expected formation of a CEP would be a time during which the Government of Haiti would take specific and concrete measures to restore a climate of confidence so that the first steps could be taken towards elections.

· Moreover, we expected that the political parties and civil society would remain engaged and be prepared to play a constructive role in forming a CEP, in light of the prevailing security climate. At the same time, we expected the IFI’s would undertake to normalize relations with Haiti; this process is under way.

· My delegation stands by its assertion that the Government of Haiti has not taken sufficient steps and has not, therefore, met its obligations to this Inter-American community.

· My Government is not going out of its way to engage in a debate with the Government of Haiti. The record is clear that, indeed, we have walked, and are walking, the extra mile to help the Haitian people. I dare say that we will continue to do so.

· The Ambassador of Haiti has cited the lack of economic resources available to Haiti. In the view of my delegation, what is required above all is political will. As the Government of Haiti demonstrates that political will, and as the International Community demonstrates that it will be rigorous in monitoring compliance with Resolution 822, it is our hope and expectation that a credible, neutral and independent CEP can be formed and that Haitians can take the first steps toward a resolution of the long political impasse.