PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 19 /PRNewswire/ — President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide and the Government of Haiti endorsed the Initial Draft Accord
proposed by the Organization of the American States (OAS) to the Haitian
political parties, seeking an end to the political crisis that has halted the
flow of international humanitarian and development assistance to Haiti.  In a
letter dated July 9, 2002 to OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi
and St. Lucian Foreign Affairs Minister Julian Hunte, representing the
Caribbean Community, President Aristide pledged to honor the Government’s
commitments to the Initial Draft Accord and fully implement all of the
measures contained within.

“As President, I wish to reiterate and reconfirm to you the full support of
the Government of Haiti for the agreement of all political parties to the
Initial Draft Accord as the best way forward toward a resolution of the
political and economic crisis, which the people of Haiti have long needed and
demanded,” reads President Aristide’s cover letter to the Government’s
endorsement of the Initial Draft Accord.

By endorsing the OAS Initial Draft Accord along with the majority party,
Fanmi Lavalas, the Government of Haiti has once again demonstrated its
willingness to end the crippling political impasse, which stemmed from the
May 21, 2000 elections in Haiti.  In a decisive move forward, the Government
agreed to continue its compliance with the provisions of OAS Resolutions 806,
1831 and 1841, and pledged to carry out further “confidence-building
measures” beyond those contained in the Initial Draft Accord.

Under the Accord, the Government of Haiti will hold national elections in the
second quarter of 2003 to replace members of Parliament who were elected on
May 21, 2000.  These members have agreed to sacrifice two years of their
terms to end the crisis.  Local officials would also be elected at this time.

In addition to the election provision, the Initial Draft Accord addresses
issues surrounding the December 17, 2001 attack on the National Palace in
Port-au-Prince and the subsequent violence.  The Government pledged to
continue to “combat impunity and place the highest priority on strengthening
judicial institutions” by implementing the Recommendations of the Commission
of Inquiry into the Events of December 17, 2001.  In its endorsement of the
Initial Draft Accord, the Government of Haiti agrees to pay reparations to
any agencies, institutions, organizations and individuals that suffered
damages in connection with the attack on the National Palace on December 17,
2001. Further, the Government pledges to cooperate fully with the OAS Special
Mission and other international institutions, agreeing to carry out all of
the Recommendations on human rights and the press set forth in the OAS report.

“The Government has done and continues to do, everything possible to
facilitate the agreement of all political parties to the terms of the Initial
Draft Accord presented by the (OAS),” President Aristide wrote.  “The people
of Haiti demand and urgently need an end to the political and economic
crisis, and their well-being requires all Haitians to rise above politics and
parties and reach an agreement with one another on the way to move forward
together. The Initial Draft Accord provides this way forward.”

In his letter, President Aristide called upon the Secretary General of the
OAS to continue to move the process forward and to urge the international
financial institutions to resume normal economic cooperation with the
Government of Haiti.  The United States is currently leading an economic
embargo against Haiti and is withholding more than $500 million in
humanitarian development assistance loans from the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB).

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