Media Center



January 29, 2003 - Washington, DC

-- Ambassador Lee and the Assistant Secretary General have provided us with a sobering assessment of the current situation in Haiti. The United States wishes to restate its unequivocal support for the OAS Special Mission to Strengthen Democracy in Haiti and to OAS Resolution 822.

-- In difficult circumstances, the Special Mission has accomplished much. For that, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to Ambassador Lee and his dedicated staff, and we must find a way to provide the resources for the Special Mission to meet its mandates.

-- Resolution 822 is a consensus document we all agreed to in September, and we should continue to agree now that it provides the best “road map” for resolving the political crisis in Haiti. But as Ambassador Lee has said, there are obligations for many actors in 822 and we must take a consistent approach to the whole package.

-- Financial support for the Special Mission is vital, but so too is the exercise of effective leadership and political will by the Government of Haiti. Even if we provide all the financial support that the Special Mission needs, it stands little chance of success unless the Government of Haiti acts now—first to meet its numerous, explicit commitments under 822 and then to form a credible, autonomous, and neutral CEP, in accordance with the Draft Initial Accord.

-- The opposition must be prepared to react constructively once the Government takes concrete steps toward meeting those commitments, especially its commitment to create a more secure environment for free and fair elections. We have noted constructive efforts of Haitian civil society to improve the environment of confidence and security.

-- Mr. Chairman, this Council has made clear that a CEP must be formed in accordance with the process laid out in the Draft Initial Accord. Any other CEP – a CEP that is not credible, neutral, and independent – a CEP that does not represent a broad spectrum of political interests in Haiti – will doom elections to failure as a true expression of popular will. If there is no credible CEP, there can be no credible elections.

-- A key element of Resolution 822 was support for normalization of relations between Haiti and the International Financial Institutions. The Resolution urged the parties to resolve the technical and financial obstacles that precluded normalization.

-- We take note of the fact that the Government of Haiti and the International Financial Institutions have held, and are now holding, discussions aimed at resolving obstacles.

-- While this is positive, these discussions have yet to result in a plan for payment of Haiti’s arrears to the IFIs or a framework to ensure improved economic governance and budgetary discipline by the government, the two fundamental conditions for resumption of IFI loan programs.

-- In sum, it is clear that all parties, domestic and foreign, government and civil society, have important roles to play, and we encourage all to work in good faith to fully implement OAS Resolution 822.

-- Mr. Chairman, my delegation believes that it is time for the OAS member states and the Friends of Haiti to send a clear message to President Aristide and the opposition and civil society that OAS Resolution 822 remains the appropriate “road map” for resolving the political crisis in Haiti. To this end, we suggest that the Permanent Council send a mission to Haiti with representatives from the Permanent Council, non-OAS Friends of Haiti, and the international financial institutions, and led by the Assistant Secretary General.

-- The essential message of such a mission would be that the package of measures laid out in Resolution 822 remains our guide and, as yet, an unfulfilled set of commitments to the international community and the Haitian people.