Originally: OAS/Caricom delegation gives Haiti 10 days to end crisis

Port Au Prince, Haiti: Haiti has been given 10 days to establish peaceful conditions for elections and end the country’s political and economic crisis.

An Organization of American States (OAS) and Caribbean Community (Caricom) delegation has ended a two-day official visit here meeting with President Jean Bertrand Aristide and senior public and private sector officials.

The delegation was led by Julian Hunte, St Lucia’s Foreign Minister and current chairman of the Caricom Council for Foreign and Community Relations and OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi.

It included United States Presidential Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, Ambassador Otto J. Reich and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank [IADB], the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank An official statement issued here said the high level delegation “consistently expressed serious concern over the critical security, human rights and socio-economic situation in Haiti and underscored that the current political stalemate must be brought to an early end”.

It emphasized, repeatedly, “it is now imperative that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) be established, as agreed, so as to allow for credible elections to be held in 2003”.

The statement said that the “government of Haiti must implement OAS Resolution 822 now. It can take many steps immediately to improve public security and the observance of human rights”.

The delegation was of the opinion that these steps require the political will on the part of Haitian government’s leaders, noting that they were all in accordance with the terms of the OAS resolutions adopted last September with agreement of Haiti.

“Resolutions 822 and 806 outline all that is needed to end Haiti’s political crisis and launch a credible, free and fair electoral process. In joining consensus at the OAS on resolutions seeking to resolve the political crisis, Haiti’s government acted in recognition of its obligations to its people,” the statement said.

It said as these obligations are met, opposition and civil society groups must respond by having their representatives participate in the CEP.

“By participating in the CEP and by making clear to their constituencies that their political will is best expressed through a peaceful and fair electoral solution, they can advance the resolution of Haiti’s political crisis. All sides must also reject violence as a political tool and must demonstrate respect for democratic values and the rule of law,” the statement added.

The statement said that the delegation reiterated its conviction that the OAS Resolutions were necessary for resolving the current crisis and the commitment of the international community to provide “support, resources and technical assistance specifically for the professionalization of the HNP, improving security and for preparing for elections in 2003”.

“The delegation took careful note of the commitment given to it by the Government of Haiti to establish a security environment conducive to free and fair elections. It welcomed the commitment by civil society and political party organizations to react to such concrete steps. The High-level Delegation urged all concerned to take concrete steps to establish the CEP by 30 March in order to facilitate the holding of elections before the end of 2003,” the statement said.

It said that the government had given an undertaking to “provide all relevant information on action taken by 30 March 2003 to the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti to enable a comprehensive Report to be presented to the OAS Permanent Council by 2 April 2003”.