Press Releases

                                                                                                                            2 June 2004

    UN Ready to Work with Haiti to Ensure Sustainable Future, Says Secretary-General as Stabilization Mission Assumes Authority

    NEW YORK, 1 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message at the beginning of the mandate of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti in Port-au-Prince, 1 June:

    Ten years after the first United Nations peacekeeping operation was deployed to Haiti, the United Nations flag is hoisted again.  Today, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, assumes authority from the Multinational Interim Force, and the mandate of the Mission, as approved in Security Council Resolution 1542, comes into force.  The Mission demonstrates the international community’s commitment to Haiti and reflects that commitment in its mandate, size and structure.

    The United Nations thus stands ready to work with Haiti and its people to overcome the current critical situation and to ensure a sustainable future.  In this context, allow me to encourage the Transitional Government to bring about a process of nationwide dialogue and reconciliation.  Such a process needs to embrace all segments of society and involve a genuine effort to enforce individual accountability.  The presence of MINUSTAH should contribute to an environment in which that can happen.  I urge the leadership and people of Haiti to take advantage of this to pursue dialogue and reconciliation in earnest and prepare for free, fair and transparent elections.

    There are many immediate challenges, and expectations are running high.  Weapons have proliferated, and the rule of law and public security need to be restored.  Basic services require urgent rehabilitation, and jobs are scarce.  This dire economic and humanitarian situation is compounded by the recent flooding, which took many lives and caused extensive damage.  I convey to you my deep sympathy and solidarity in this difficult period.  Rest assured that I will spare no efforts, through the United Nations and with the support of the international community, to assist you in overcoming this hardship.

    MINUSTAH cannot and does not claim to bring a solution to all these challenges.  Yet the Mission will be multidimensional in scope, to enable it to help Haitians address the complex range of issues they face.  At the same time, concerted efforts will be required involving the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  The OAS and CARICOM, as well as United Nations funds, programmes and agencies have been engaged in Haiti for a considerable time, and will remain engaged once the peacekeeping operation has completed its mandate.

    Allow me also to commend the Multinational Interim Force for the efforts it has undertaken since 29 February to stabilize a precarious security situation, and extend my appreciation for the support it will provide to MINUSTAH during the transition period.  My thanks go also to the countries which have agreed to provide military and police personnel to MINUSTAH.

    I am encouraged by the political will demonstrated by the Government to succeed in the transition and put Haiti on the path of democracy and sustainable development.  The international community must do its part and remain engaged for the long term, both politically and financially.  It must seek creative ways to assist Haitians, based on lessons learnt, while leaving the ownership of the process firmly in the hands of the Haitian people.  Watchful support will be necessary to ascertain that State-building efforts remain on track.  I welcome Prime Minister Latortue’s assurance that his Government will be fully transparent and accountable, particularly to its citizenry, regarding the spending of international resources.

    I wish the Haitian people and leadership, as well as all MINUSTAH staff, success in their joint endeavours.  The stakes are high.  This time, let us get it right.

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