Originally: French ambassador reiterates willingness to work with Latortue’s government

The French ambassador in Port-au-Prince has confirmed that French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin will visit Haiti soon in view of the strengthening relations between Paris and Port-au-Prince.

In an interview with Radio Metropole, French Ambassador Thierry Burkard has reiterated France’s willingness to cooperate with the Latortue government. The diplomat makes clear that the task will not be easy for the new Haitian authorities that have replaced the unworthy government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Amb. Thierry Burkard:

I believe that nothing was working in the country. We were living in a regime where it was only one man who counted. Everything was concentrated on that single man, a man unworthy of the function that he was fulfilling. Now this government will have to fulfill its duties at all levels. And I do believe that it will need everybody’s help in everything.

Would you say that the current government has started to accomplish certain things to the benefit of the country?

We should not be precipitate. The government must first evaluate the situation. There are areas that will require immediate decisions, for example, public finances, judicial affairs and the security of the people. All of those things cannot wait.

There is also a lot to be done at the level of agriculture. It is necessary for the country to find the means to have true agricultural production, good roads that can facilitate the transporting of the products. The workers should be able to feel that they are not being exploited, that the work they are doing will benefit their families and that most of it will not go into the hands of dubious intermediaries. Immediate actions will have to be taken at all levels.

Now that Jean-Bertrand Aristide has gone, what kind of cooperation do you hope to have with the transitional government?

We are going to conduct a sector-by-sector study to determine what we can do together. I believe the current government will be able to appreciate the assistance that we shall be able to give at all levels.

What kind of assistance is your government hoping to give?

We shall help at the intellectual level and the level of competence. We shall also assist the government financially.

What does your government expect from this transitional government?

The French foreign minister will come to Haiti soon. He will then discuss matters with the prime minister.