Originally: OAS council meeting April 3, 2003

Organization of American States



April 3, 2003


The Organization of American States? (OAS) Permanent Council today considered the Report of the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti on the Situation as of March 30, which addresses the follow?up to the recent high-level OAS/CARICOM mission led jointly by Saint Lucian Foreign Minister Julian Hunte and Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi. The report of the Special Mission outlines various actions taken by the different actors in Haiti since the departure of the Delegation, which was formed after the persistent stalemate with regard to formation of the Provisional Electoral Council, called for in OAS Resolution 822.

Einaudi underlined that time is fast running for the holding of credible elections in 2003. While the government of Haiti had completed certain targets, the inability to end impunity creates an uncertain climate with regard to security and other important conditions vital to progress. He cited in particular difficulties in professionalizing the Haitian police force and reiterated the need for improved administration of justice.

Several delegations, noting the importance and the complexity of the report, supported the suggestion of the Ambassador of St. Lucia, Sonia Johnny, for consultations among members of the High-level delegation and other member states. The Peruvian Ambassador, Eduardo Ferrero Costa, suggested as well that the High-level delegation make specific recommendations to the Permanent Council as to how to move the process forward.

United States Alternate Representative Ambassador Peter DeShazo endorsed the OAS/CARICOM Delegation?s ?sincere, good faith effort to break the impasse in Haiti,? stressing that the delegation?s ?message was very clear and also balanced.? He also expressed deep concern that the Haitian Government had failed to respond to several key points raised by the OAS/CARICOM Delegation.

Canada?s Alternate Representative, Catherine Vezina, noted that the Haitian government had made some progress implementing aspects of Resolution 822 since the High-level Delegation left, but more needed to be done. As well, Vezina noted that the Haitian opposition and civil society had not yet met their obligations under Resolution 822.

Meanwhile, the Alternate Observer of France, Marie-Anne Courrian, speaking as well for the Delegation of the European Commission, restated its support for the OAS initiatives towards a resolution of the Haitian political crisis. She noted as well a statement by the European Union on March 7 renewing its offer to assist the Haitian government on initiatives to restore order and the rule of law. However, it was necessary for the Government of Haiti to respond to the points raised by the High-level Delegation, and included with the report of the Special Mission.

Barbados? Ambassador Michael King implored all the parties to work closely with the OAS in this exercise to bring about a resolution. He underscored the need for the people of Haiti to live in peace and harmony, mindful that the bicentennial of the nation?s independence, in 2004, should be an occasion for celebration.

At the end of the discussion Haiti?s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Raymond Valcin, expressed his government?s appreciation for the visit by the High-level Delegation, and highlighted renewed effort by his government to fulfill its responsibilities in the quest for a solution. He said the government remained ready and willing to continue exchanging views with interested parties, and remained optimistic about the prospects for the future.

The Permanent Council is to schedule another meeting, following consultations, for a more in- depth examination of the report.


Organization of American States


ADDRESS BY Ambassador Peter DeShazo


Washington, DC

April 3, 2003

The United States thanks the Assistant Secretary General for the report of the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy. We will study it in depth and comment further on it at a later date.

The United States also wishes to thank the Assistant Secretary General and our colleagues from CARICOM, in particular, for their united efforts in support of advancing democracy in Haiti, CARICOM?s newest member state.

The United States fully supports the Inter-American Democratic Charter and Resolution 822, which was inspired by the spirit and letter of the Charter. Resolution 822 constituted a clear, unprecedented formula for solving the political crisis in Haiti.

The high-level OAS/CARICOM delegation made a sincere, good faith effort to break the impasse in Haiti. The message was very clear: Resolution 822 is the way to resolve the political crisis without further delay. The delegation urged the Government of Haiti to take certain concrete steps to fulfill the commitments it undertook in Resolution 822. Such steps are critical to advancing and strengthening the fragile democracy of the hemisphere?s second oldest republic. The message also was balanced: The delegation urged civil society and the opposition to participate in formation of a CEP if the Government took those steps to improve the security climate. The visit of this delegation and the plan of action it presented constituted a great opportunity to move forward in establishing an environment of trust and security that is necessary for elections to take place and for Haiti?s longstanding political crisis to be resolved.

Having listened to the report of the Assistant Secretary General on the Special Mission, and to reports from our colleagues in Port-au-Prince, the United States is deeply concerned by the lack of serious action by the Government of Haiti in response to several key points which were raised by the OAS/CARICOM high level delegation. We are particularly disturbed by the Government?s choice of leadership, interim or otherwise, in the Haitian National Police. It is clear to everyone in Haiti ?- whether in government, the opposition, civil society, or ordinary citizens ? that a climate of security must be restored, not just for political activity or elections, but for the economic stability and development so desperately needed by the Haitian people. As the Report of the OAS Special Mission states: ?the overriding issue was for the Government to take concrete actions designed to demonstrate to Haitians, and the international community, that a climate conducive to the holding of free and fair elections was being created and would be strengthened satisfactorily over the period of the electoral campaign.?

Unfortunately, the choice of leadership for the HNP has done exactly the opposite: it has undermined confidence in the Government?s commitment to create a climate of security. Moreover, this appointment does not bode well for future collaboration with the international community, which stood ready to provide training and international police advisors.

We deeply regret this lost opportunity, which will have profound implications for Haiti?s future.

As we analyze the report by the Special Mission and as we assess the actions of the Government of Haiti, we intend to consult closely and on an urgent basis with other member and observer states and members of the High Level delegation to Haiti. However, it already is clear that the failure to form a neutral, credible and independent CEP by March 30 means that it is highly unlikely that free and fair elections can be held in Haiti in 2003. Moreover, we now must consider, in light of recent inaction by the Government of Haiti, whether the OAS special mission has any viable role to play. At a minimum, we must review the Mission?s mandates.

The United States, along with other members of the Permanent Council, wants to help the people of Haiti, who have suffered so much over the years. We remain committed to providing bilateral humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people. Similarly, we remain firmly committed to developing civil society and democracy at the grassroots level in Haiti.

In closing, the United States once again wishes to thank the Assistant Secretary General, and the Foreign Minister of St. Lucia, for their efforts to apply Resolution 822. The United States looks forward to a dialogue with our colleagues on the Permanent Council as we contemplate the next steps in advancing democratic development in and helping the people Haiti.