Media Center

Press Release


  April 3, 2003

The Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council today considered the Report of the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti on the Situation as of March 30, which addresses the follow–up to the recent high-level OAS/CARICOM mission led jointly by Saint Lucian Foreign Minister Julian Hunte and Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi. The report of the Special Mission outlines various actions taken by the different actors in Haiti since the departure of the Delegation, which was formed after the persistent stalemate with regard to formation of the Provisional Electoral Council, called for in OAS Resolution 822.

Einaudi underlined that time is fast running for the holding of credible elections in 2003. While the government of Haiti had completed certain targets, the inability to end impunity creates an uncertain climate with regard to security and other important conditions vital to progress. He cited in particular difficulties in professionalizing the Haitian police force and reiterated the need for improved administration of justice.

Several delegations, noting the importance and the complexity of the report, supported the suggestion of the Ambassador of St. Lucia, Sonia Johnny, for consultations among members of the High-level delegation and other member states. The Peruvian Ambassador, Eduardo Ferrero Costa, suggested as well that the High-level delegation make specific recommendations to the Permanent Council as to how to move the process forward.

United States Alternate Representative Ambassador Peter DeShazo endorsed the OAS/CARICOM Delegation’s “sincere, good faith effort to break the impasse in Haiti,” stressing that the delegation’s “message was very clear and also balanced.” He also expressed deep concern that the Haitian Government had failed to respond to several key points raised by the OAS/CARICOM Delegation.

Canada’s Alternate Representative, Catherine Vezina, noted that the Haitian government had made some progress implementing aspects of Resolution 822 since the High-level Delegation left, but more needed to be done. As well, Vezina noted that the Haitian opposition and civil society had not yet met their obligations under Resolution 822.

Meanwhile, the Alternate Observer of France, Marie-Anne Courrian, speaking as well for the Delegation of the European Commission, restated its support for the OAS initiatives towards a resolution of the Haitian political crisis. She noted as well a statement by the European Union on March 7 renewing its offer to assist the Haitian government on initiatives to restore order and the rule of law. However, it was necessary for the Government of Haiti to respond to the points raised by the High-level Delegation, and included with the report of the Special Mission.

Barbados’ Ambassador Michael King implored all the parties to work closely with the OAS in this exercise to bring about a resolution. He underscored the need for the people of Haiti to live in peace and harmony, mindful that the bicentennial of the nation’s independence, in 2004, should be an occasion for celebration.

At the end of the discussion Haiti’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Raymond Valcin, expressed his government’s appreciation for the visit by the High-level Delegation, and highlighted renewed effort by his government to fulfill its responsibilities in the quest for a solution. He said the government remained ready and willing to continue exchanging views with interested parties, and remained optimistic about the prospects for the future.

The Permanent Council is to schedule another meeting, following consultations, for a more in- depth examination of the report.

Reference: E-078/03