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The Situation in Haiti - Roger F. Noriega

The Situation in Haiti: Remarks at the Fourth Plenary Session

Ambassador Roger F. Noriega, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS Remarks to the OAS General Assembly Santiago, Chile June 10, 2003

[As delivered]

The United States wishes to recognize the efforts of those delegations that worked long and hard to produce the resolution Strengthening Support for Democracy in Haiti, the third this Organization has negotiated on Haiti in the last year. It is highly appropriate that this General Assembly adopt a resolution reaffirming Permanent Council resolution 822 as the framework for resolving the political impasse stemming from the failed elections of May 21, 2000. This resolution also reiterates support for the OAS Special Mission, which has done an excellent job in complying with its mandates under resolution 822 in what have been very difficult circumstances.

This resolution also maintains the essential focus that has been placed in previous General Assembly and Permanent Council resolutions on the need to create a climate of security conducive to free, fair, and transparent elections. To this end, the appointment as Director General of the Haitian National Police of a long-serving member of the force, who is well respected by both Haitians and the international community, may prove to be a positive step. The appointment of new leadership for the Police was one of the most important points the High-Level OAS/CARICOM Delegation left with President Aristide during its March 19-20 visit to Haiti. We note also that during his swearing in ceremony, the new Director General made one of his highest priorities the reestablishment of a sense of security among all Haitian citizens.

This appointment is, however, only the first step in the process of the professional development of an independent, trustworthy police which would contribute to a climate of security so desperately sought by the Haitian people. The new Director General of the Haitian National Police must be permitted the independence of action accorded him under Haitian law in order to ensure respect for the rule of law. He must be allowed to act professionally without political interference from Haitian governmental authorities.

Yesterday, Secretary Powell reiterated the commitment of the Government of the United States of America to the OAS Special Mission efforts to improve the security climate by providing an additional $1 million. We hope the Government of Haiti will allow the Special Mission to move promptly to place police advisors in key offices of the Haitian National Police to assist with the expeditious professional development of that institution.

Although we all recognize that some progress has been made in compliance with Resolution 822, we must be realistic that much remains to be done. Without formation of a credible, neutral and independent CEP(Caribbean Environment Program), it will be difficult for Haiti to hold elections that will be recognized as free, fair and transparent. Although we call in this resolution on all five parties referred to in resolution 822, the burden of creating the climate of security remains with the Government of Haiti. We look, therefore, to the Government to take all of the concrete measures drawn from Resolutions 806 and 822 put to President Aristide by the High-Level OAS/CARICOM delegation.

In conclusion, I would like to repeat the words of Secretary Powell made to this body yesterday: If, by this September, the Government of Haiti has not created the climate of security essential to the formation of credible, neutral and independent Provisional Electoral Council, we should reevaluate the role of the OAS in Haiti. [End]

Released on June 10, 2003

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