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Remarks at UN Security Council Open Debate on Hait

Remarks at UN Security Council Open Debate on Haiti

Roger F. Noriega, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Washington, DC
January 12, 2005

Thank you very much Mr. President, Ambassador Valdes, distinguished colleagues. The United States appreciates Argentina's initiative to focus the Council's attention on Haiti. We stand committed to our collective effort to improve stability, strengthen the rule of law, consolidate representative democracy through elections, and lay the foundation for long-term economic recovery and growth.

The international community has responded to the crisis in Haiti with a coordinated effort to establish security and promote political reconciliation. I wish to highlight the contributions of Brazil, Argentina, and other Western Hemisphere countries to this effort.

MINUSTAH [United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti] and Security Mr. President, as MINUSTAH approaches its fully authorized strength, it has demonstrated that it has the will and the wherewithal to improve the security conditions of the Haitian people, consistent with its mandate. Since it intensified operations in December to confront gang activities and defend the rule of law in Port-au-Prince, MINUSTAH has made significant progress in augmenting security in the Haitian capital's most impoverished neighborhoods.

Demobilization and Disarmament We call upon the international community and the Interim Government to work in concert on a comprehensive program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate into productive society all irregular armed groups in Haiti. Also, we encourage the international community and the Interim Government to focus on building an effective civilian police force to improve security and to protect the rights, lives and property of all Haitians.

Support for the People of Haiti Mr. President, security and development are inseparable. The improved security climate offers the opportunity to deliver on our collective commitment to help bring real political and economic recovery and growth to Haiti. At the World Bank Donors' Conference last July, the international community pledged more than $1 billion to help Haiti.

The United States is delivering on its commitment to Haiti, spending over $113 million on economic development, health, jobs and disaster relief in 2004--accounting for approximately half of the international community's donations for that year. We expect to spend well over $150 million in Haiti during the course of 2005.

It is important to remember that pledges alone will not improve conditions in Haiti. We must work to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles in each of our governments and institutions to disburse the funds that were pledged at last year's conference. Haitian authorities should redouble their efforts to identify concrete projects and to accept appropriate technical advisors to support them.

Similarly, we call upon donors to intensify their efforts to remove any bureaucratic hurdles to projects that would improve the lot of average Haitians today and give them precious hope for the future.

We support efforts by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and MINUSTAH, consistent with the mandate provided in Security Council resolutions 1542 and 1576, to join with the other organs of the UN system, the international financial institutions, and member states to assist the Interim Government of Haiti in designing and implementing urgent, high-impact projects for the recovery and development of Haiti.

Need for an Inclusive National Dialogue Mr. President, during his visit to Haiti last month, Secretary of State Colin Powell consulted with Haitian authorities and civil society leaders about the need for a broad national dialogue in Haiti.

We believe that any party in Haiti that accepts democratic principles and rejects the path of violence should have a place at the table. We commend MINUSTAH's efforts in support of such a dialogue.

Supporting UN/OAS Election Efforts That dialogue represents an important step toward inclusive, free, and fair elections this fall and national reconciliation in the long run. My government is pleased to support the work of the OAS and the UN in helping Haiti prepare for elections. The United States has contributed some $9 million to this effort through the OAS and another $1.25 million through our bilateral assistance program. We understand that the election effort will require substantial additional funds for voter education, infrastructure improvements, and security. To ensure successful elections, we strongly encourage donors to give generously to that effort.

Mr. President, in conclusion, those of us who are fortunate to have persons of Haitian origin in our communities know them to be extraordinarily talented and industrious. For that reason, if we meet our commitment to work together to strengthen a government that empowers and protects all citizens of Haiti, there is good reason to be hopeful for Haiti.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

ENDS

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