Press Releases

                21 JULY 2004

    Secretary-General Calls for Generous Commitment from International Community to Help Haiti through Difficult Transition, in Message to Donors Conference

    NEW YORK, 20 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the International Donors Conference on Haiti, delivered by Juan Gabriel Valdes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, in Washington, D.C., 20 July:

    This is an important day in the history of the international community’s involvement in Haiti.  I send my warm greetings to all who have gathered to respond to crucial political, institutional and development needs that have been identified in Haiti for the next 27 months. I am confident that the collective response of the international community at this conference will meet the expectations of the Haitian people.

    After the crisis in Haiti early this year, the country has embarked on the road of transition. The security situation has gradually improved since the deployment of the Multinational Interim Force in February, and the follow-on United Nations stabilization mission in June. The interim leadership is showing a genuine commitment to promoting participatory democracy and sustainable development in Haiti. MINUSTAH is working to provide the necessary conditions for an inclusive and nation-wide dialogue and reconciliation process, an even-handed fight against impunity, preparations for free and fair elections, and the development of Haiti’s economy.

    However, no one should underestimate how fragile Haiti remains. Armed groups continue to endanger stability.  The rule of law has not yet been restored.  Political forces remain at loggerheads. Basic services need urgent rehabilitation. Unemployment is widespread. The people of Haiti will be sorely tested in the difficult period ahead. So will the international community. If Haiti’s transition is to be successful, the international community must put its full weight behind the Haitian leadership, and stay engaged during the months, and years, to come.  We must work to address root causes, and not merely paper over the symptoms.

    The signs, so far, are encouraging. I welcome the new partnership that has emerged between the international community and the Transitional Government in preparation of the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF). It has truly been a cooperative endeavour, drawing in national and international stakeholders at all levels. The contributions of the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, with whom the United Nations is working closely, are of great importance.  I commend the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Commission, who, together with the United Nations system, have coordinated the international community’s support to the Transitional Government during the ICF process, and who are co-hosting today’s conference.

    I also applaud the Interim Government for the political will it has shown to make the transition work. It has mobilized national resources, with the support of friendly international institutions and donor countries, to launch and lead the ICF process.  Without local ownership the ICF would not have been a credible process. I encourage the Government to show the same spirit during the implementation of the ICF.

    I also welcome Prime Minister Latortue’s assurance that his government will be fully transparent and accountable, including to its citizenry, about the spending of international resources. This is an important message which, I trust, will not fall on deaf ears today.

    I therefore urge the international community to pledge generously today, in support of the priority areas in the political and economic domains of peace-building -- political governance and national dialogue; economic governance and institutional development; economic recovery; and improving access to basic services. The implementation of the ICF between July 2004 and September 2006 requires financing to the tune of $1.37 billion. That funding will be vital if Haiti is to walk successfully down the difficult path of transition. Today, let us show the Haitian people that, this time, the international community is fully committed to walking with them down that path.

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