28 March 2006

Haiti Needs "Vigorous Partnership" with International Community, Secretary-General Says in Remarks to Security Council

NEW YORK, 27 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the remarks, as delivered today, by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council's open meeting on Haiti:

It is good to see so many ministers here for this important session, Mr. President, and I am pleased to join you for today's discussion on Haiti.  Let me start by extending a warm welcome and congratulations to President-elect Préval.

The first round of national elections that took place last month was a vivid illustration of the faith of the Haitian people in the democratic process, and their determination to make a fresh start.  That was clear from the high turnout of voters who waited patiently to cast their ballots, and from the peaceful and pluralistic nature of the electoral process.

Let me also recognize the important contribution that MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) made in helping to ensure the political space and security needed for successful elections.  I am sure the Council will join me in expressing gratitude to my Special Representative, Juan Gabriel Valdés, for his distinguished leadership.

These developments should encourage us to even greater efforts in Haiti, which is only beginning its long journey towards a stable and democratic future.  It needs and deserves our assistance to reach that destination.  That means a vigorous partnership between the leadership and the people of Haiti on one hand, and the international community on the other.

We must all reinforce President-elect Préval's efforts to encourage broad political reconciliation.  Haiti's institutions of governance require generous support.  So do the people of Haiti, who every day endure a level of hardship and insecurity that is unacceptable, and also incompatible with the stability of the country.

Days after the elections, the Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations operation in Haiti for a further six months.  At the same time, it expressed its intention to authorize further extensions.  It is right, and indeed necessary, that a multidimensional peacekeeping operation continue.  Yet, the efforts of MINUSTAH can tackle only the most urgent needs.  We need generous and coordinated bilateral assistance to supplement and build on those efforts.

The men and women of Haiti have demonstrated their faith in a better future.  Let us work with the President-elect and his team, and with the people of Haiti, to ensure that they do succeed.

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