Another step was taken in the political transition with the signing of a political agreement at the National Palace yesterday. A document entitled Consensus for a Political Transition was signed by the presidency, the government, civil society, political sectors, and members of the Council of Eminent Persons (COEP). This agreement concerns key issues such as elections, the economy, respect for human rights, and judicial affairs, and should facilitate the success of the political transition. The meeting took place in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James B. Foley, French Ambassador Thierry Burkard, and other representatives of the international community.

Political leader Evans Paul, who took part in yesterday’s ceremony, invites future elected leaders to work in the interest of the Haitian people. Paul encourages Haitians to get down to business and expresses regrets about the absence of certain parties in the event.

U.S. Ambassador Foley reaffirms the international community’s willingness to help Haiti advance on the road of democracy. Mr Foley thinks that the agreement that was signed yesterday will facilitate the holding of good elections. He encourages all political sectors to take part in the next electoral contests.

France expresses appreciation about the agreement reached between Haitian political parties and the government to hold elections in 2005. The French Government considers it an important step towards the return to democracy, according to a French Foreign Ministry spokesman. It supports these efforts and encourages the international community to give the necessary assistance to facilitate the implementation of this agreement. 

The National Progressive Democratic Party of Haiti, PNDPH, of Turneb Delpe has distanced itself from the agreement signed by the parties about the transition. Delpe affirms that he abandoned the meeting to protest the document. He protests the fact that the country is once again under foreign occupation.

The Lavalas Family (FL) denounces the agreement signed yesterday. FL spokesman Gilbert Angervil affirms that no political agreement can be viable and legitimate without the participation of the party of former President Aristide. He refers to the parties that signed the agreement as minority parties.

The parties that signed the political agreement invite the Lavalas senators who are still in office to resign in order to facilitate the transition. They invite Aristide’s partisans to be realistic in the face of the current situation. Evans Paul said, “The Lavalas regime has fallen. There is a de facto senate that cannot fulfil its mission in accordance with the constitution. There is a prime minister now who was not approved by the senate that has no power over the government. I therefore do not believe that being a senator is just a matter of having a title. Once a senator is not able to fulfil his duties then this means that his mission is over.”

Andre Apaid, Jr of the Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations says, “I think the few senators that are left will be wise enough to make the appropriate decision.”