(translation of statement made in French)
I thank you, Madam President, for having organized this debate on the situation in Haiti and the activities of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This debate helps to keep international attention focused on the situation in that country. The exceptional number of delegations that will take part in today’s debate — in particular States of the region, whose role is essential — shows the broad interest aroused by this item.
Of course, I also wish to thank Mrs. Pierre-Louis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti, for her briefing and to assure her that we listened to it with great attention and, of course, sympathy on the part of France.
France fully associates itself with the statement to be made by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union. I should just like to add several comments in my national capacity.
As others have already stressed, Haiti has made significant progress in recent years thanks to numerous efforts made not only by the international community, but also by the Government and the people of Haiti. That progress is the result of the ongoing mobilization of the international community, illustrated by the Security Council’s unanimous support for the activities of MINUSTAH — support that we shall soon renew. I wish to commend the continued and unwavering commitment of the Secretary-General and the excellent work of his Special Representative, Mr. Annabi.
We all know how difficult it is to keep the international community’s attention on a particular country as crises are, unfortunately, increasing throughout the world. As the situation in Haiti is gradually improving, some might be tempted to let down their guard. To the contrary, it is during this virtuous phase that we must step up our efforts.
Mr. Clinton’s resolute action on behalf of Haiti and his generous commitment have already produced results. They should be supported. The improvement in security conditions should make it possible to increase international mobilization, to encourage investors — as stressed by the Prime Minister of Haiti — and also to encourage non-governmental organizations to commit themselves to helping Haitian society take full responsibility for its future. Today, it is to the reconstruction of the Haitian State and to economic and social development that we must devote our efforts.
France thus welcomes the resolute economic and financial mobilization of the international community. The Washington conference showed the support of international donors and made it possible to mobilize funds as well as budgetary assistance. Haiti’s progress towards the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative in June allowed for substantial debt cancellation. Last July, the Paris Club announced a very significant debt cancellation by bilateral creditors, including France.
In this endeavour, the role of the United Nations is obviously crucial. MINUSTAH plays a role in the area of stabilization. United Nations agencies present on the ground, under the supervision of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, are contributing to social and economic development. But the ultimate responsibility for success rests on the shoulders of the Haitian Government and people. Thus, it is to the Haitian Government and people that we must lend our full assistance and support in their difficult and courageous fight. They can count on us. Of course, they can count on France, which has historical, cultural and human ties with Haiti that we shall not forget. France is participating in MINUSTAH. We are on the ground and recently increased our assistance, particularly after last year’s devastating hurricanes.
It is our collective responsibility to continue to support the efforts of the Haitian authorities with a view to stabilizing the country, strengthening democratic institutions and promoting sustainable development. The United Nations and the Haitian authorities must continue the work that has begun. France will continue to lend its support to the United Nations and to the Haitian Government.