As announced in the headlines, President Rene Garcia Preval said yesterday that members of illegal armed groups have two solutions. Either they join the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion program or they will die when the forces of order go out to disarm them. The head of state, who believes many people misunderstood the statements he made on the need for dialogue during the UN secretary-general’s visit, explains that disarmament must be done regardless so that the country can enter normality. Preval made these statements during a visit to Village Solidarity, which is located not far from the areas controlled by bandits such as Cite Soleil and Cite Militaire. Let us listen to Preval’s explanations:

“There are many different interpretations on how we say we will carry out the disarmament. We say we will hold negotiations. Some people say they do not agree. But you must know what the theme of the negotiations is. The theme of the negotiations is simple. Either you are disarmed within the framework of the DDR–this means that you surrender your weapons, you go to school or you open a business–or they take them from you in a violent manner.

It is only one objective with two paths. The objective is that there should no longer be weapons in the country so that work can begin, so that people can go to school and so that merchants can go to market to sell their products. It is only one objective: there must be no weapons in the country.

There are two ways it can be done. Either weapons are surrendered within the framework of the DDR or people who were previously armed go to school or open a business, or disarmament can be done in a violent manner, which I do not want. The MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) and the police have gradually begun resuming control over this neighborhood. However, those who have weapons–and this is what we call dialogue–still have an opportunity to come and talk to us while we are moving forward.

I believe this must be clear: there are two concurrent solutions. Once you are taken with weapons in your hands you will die. If in the meantime you want to surrender your weapons–but to surrender your weapons, you must find somebody to talk to–if you want to surrender your weapons, you will join DDR. So, it is not dialogue without force. It is dialogue with force and force with dialogue. If you want to surrender your weapons, you must find somebody to talk to; you must find a state to give you the guarantee that it will carry out the DDR with you. If you do not want to surrender your weapons you will die. This week, at least seventeen bandits died in this area.

I will repeat this for the last time: Dialogue does not mean that you will just talk to people who have weapons. You will talk to them to tell them, here is the choice: either you surrender your weapons within the DDR or you will die. This is what we are telling people who have weapons.