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Haiti: President-elect René Préval congratulated

Security Council, Annan congratulate President-elect René Préval of Haiti

Applauding the Haitian people for their patience and continuing commitment to democracy, the United Nations Security Council today congratulated René Préval on his victory in the Caribbean country's recent presidential election.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan also congratulated Mr. Préval and, during their conversation yesterday, encouraged him to work on furthering national reconciliation, a UN spokesman said.

"The Secretary-General again pays tribute to the commitment of the Haitian people to the democratic process, as shown in the huge numbers of voters who waited patiently in long lines to vote," the spokesman said in a statement, stressing the importance of completing the electoral cycle, including by holding local and municipal elections as early as possible.

The Council president for February, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, read out a press statement saying: “Based on the announcement made by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the members of the Council congratulate René Préval on his victory in Haiti's presidential election and look forward to working with the new government to help Haitians build a better future for their country.”

The 15 members of the Council urged Haitians to “redouble their efforts to promote political dialogue and national reconciliation, including participation in the second round of parliamentary elections and municipal and local elections,” he said.

The statement came after UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi told Council members that Haiti's transitional government welcomed the Provisional Electoral Council's declaration that Mr. Préval had won and that other candidates had acknowledged his victory, Mr. Annan's spokesman told journalists.

He added that vote counting on Haiti's legislative elections had resumed.

Meanwhile, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said the situation on the ground was calm, with no reports of violence. Residents in the capital, Port au Prince, had returned to work and life had gone back to normal, it said.

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