Media Center



April 7, 2004 - Washington, DC

Regular Session of the Permanent Council

• Mr. Chairman:

• My delegation would like to congratulate Assistant Secretary General Einaudi and the OAS Special Mission for this factual and objective report, and to express support for the work of the Special Mission.

• My government is ready, along with the OAS Special Mission, to help the people and leadership of Haiti to make a new beginning and to build a future of hope for the Haitian people. That is the crux of the report – and the update provided by the Assistant Secretary General.

• On April 5, Secretary of State Colin Powell traveled to Port-au-Prince, where he delivered that same message to interim Prime Minister Latortue and interim President Alexandre, both of whom, as Ambassador Einaudi’s report states, assumed their responsibilities as required by the Haitian constitution.

• We believe that it is important to put the past behind us and to inject momentum into the Haitian political process now.

• Haiti’s interim Prime Minister talked with Secretary Powell about what needs to be done to get Haiti’s economy started again and create employment; and they both spoke about the important job needed to put the country back on a constitutional footing completely with new elections in 2005, to which end a new electoral council composed of all parties, including Fanmi Lavalas, will be formed in the near to medium term, and told him that Haiti would form a Truth, Justice and National Reconciliation Commission based on the South African model.

• Mr. Chairman, we believe that service in the Haitian government, including in its security forces and participation in the political processes should be opened to all Haitians who reject violence and are committed to democracy.

• This means that there should be no place in the security forces for human rights violators and criminals.

• Furthermore, we believe that it is important to get guns off the streets, and out of the hands of thugs and criminals, because without disarmament Haiti’s democracy will be at risk.

• Prime Minister Latortue told Secretary Powell that his government is looking to put an end to corruption and establishing an entity that will go after those who are guilty of corruption. The fight against corruption is of paramount importance to the interim government, and it plans to seek the advice of the international community in setting up the anti-corruption unit to which I just alluded.

• The OAS has a critical role to play in strengthening Haiti’s democratic institutions, but there is now an explicit special role for a human rights focus. In this respect, the United States believes that the mandates under which the OAS functions in Haiti are solid and valid. Accordingly, the United States already has taken concrete actions, supporting the work of the Special Mission with a recent special contribution of $4.9 million. Secretary Powell announced an additional $9 million for elections and democracy building in support of the activities of the Mission during his stay in Port-au-Prince.

• On the bilateral side we plan to spend $55 million in economic and humanitarian assistance in Haiti during this fiscal year. We will also work with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union and other friendly nations to contribute to Haiti’s development.

• Mr. Chairman, Haiti is broke. The previous government left it without funds. The Haitian people need the international community’s help to rebuild in this difficult moment in its history.

• During the upcoming Donors’ Meeting in Port-au-Prince (April 22) the members of the international community will take stock of Haiti’s needs and begin to make some preliminary decisions regarding the sectors to which they will be prepared to offer their cooperation. Another donors’ meeting is scheduled for this summer.

• Many of these facts were made public in a Department of State press release on April 5. The press release also mentions that the United States will fund a three-year jobs program, which will provide tens of thousands of jobs to improve municipal infrastructure and create jobs in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien, Gonaives and other locations as needed.

• Haiti has a chance to make a new beginning. We call on the people of Haiti to work together peacefully to seize that chance. While we are pleased to help Haiti, but the job is too large for one country to undertake alone. We salute those countries that are part of the Multilateral Interim Force for their courageous and selfless service, and look forward to other member states and OAS observers for participation in the peacekeeping mission to follow.

• We call on the members of this house of the Americas to come forward to support restoration of the rule of law and to begin immediate, appropriate preparations to restore the constitutional voice of the people of Haiti through free and fair elections in a climate of security.

• Thank you, Mr. Chairman.