Thank you all. I want to begin especially by thanking Special Representative Annabi for his dedication to Haiti and his very capable leadership of MINUSTAH. I am also very delighted that Haitian Prime Minister Pierre-Louis is here with us today, Madame Prime Minister we look forward to keeping our partnership and our work together. And finally I want to warmly again thank President Clinton for coming to the Council today. The United States is deeply honored by his appointment as UN Special Envoy for Haiti. We are proud that he has taken up this important mission to extend and expand our common efforts to help the people of Haiti.
Last year’s hurricanes and food crisis have meant major challenges and serious setbacks. But real progress is still being made in Haiti. The United States is pleased to see increased political cooperation, which allowed for Senate elections and the passage of several key pieces of legislation. We continue urge the Government of Haiti to deepen its efforts to foster an all-inclusive political dialogue, and we thank MINUSTAH for its ongoing support of Haiti’s electoral process.
The United States also congratulates the Inter-American Development Bank and Prime Minister Pierre-Louis on the successful conclusion of the April 14 Donors’ Conference in Washington, which the IDB reports has resulted in $353 million in new pledges for Haiti. The United States pledged $57 million in new funding, including $20 million in indirect budget support. Let me again stress the need for the Government of Haiti and its partners to continue their good efforts to advance economic growth and development in the country, including by supporting the country’s Plan for Reconstruction and Economic Recovery.
At the Conference in Washington, the United States welcomed donors’ commitments to help the Government of Haiti address the difficult and demanding conditions that dominate the daily life of far too many Haitians. We thank our partners for their commitments to tackle these problems even as we call on them to keep up the momentum to alleviate the ongoing suffering. For our part, my government again underscores its own commitment to partner more closely with the Government of Haiti and other donors to better respond to the urgent needs of the Haitian people.
Real gains have been made to improve security in Haiti. But we are acutely aware of the potential threats to Haiti’s stability, including transnational crime, gang violence, drugs, and civil unrest. In Haiti as elsewhere, as we have heard more than once today, there can be no security without development, and there can be no sustained development without security.
The United States remains optimistic about the gradual improvements in the Haitian National Police’s capabilities to meet these security challenges. But the HNP still lacks the capacity, training, and equipment to respond independently to the full range of threats that Haiti now confronts. So we again commend MINUSTAH, as well as bilateral donors, for their ongoing role in maintaining stability and providing technical support and contributions to build up the HNP. We have also renewed our efforts to respond to the Government of Haiti’s security priorities to help foster the security and stability that the people of Haiti need and deserve.
To complement these efforts on the security front, we are also looking closely at our investments on the development front. Guided by development priorities set out by the Government of Haiti at the Donor’s Conference, we are looking at ways to make the United States a more effective donor, investor, and bilateral partner with Haiti. We continue to work with the Haitian people to strengthen the rule of law and the security sector, expand human security, extend economic development, deepen good governance, and reinforce the stability required for the eventual drawdown of peacekeeping forces.
The United States therefore firmly backs the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate for another year, including the adjustments he proposes to its force configuration. We remain optimistic about the advances that have been made to the consolidation plan over the past year, and we remain committed—both to the Mission and to Haiti itself. We urge our partners again to maintain their own commitments and to deepen our common efforts to stabilize the country. As the Secretary-General rightly notes, the Haitian people have the primary responsibility for their own country’s future and fortunes, but the continued engagement of the wider international community is essential if we are to seize this historic opportunity for progress and bring a brighter future for Haiti.
Finally, on behalf of the United States, let me again convey my appreciation to the Special Representative—and let me again salute the men and women of MINUSTAH for their bravery and dedication, under the admirable leadership of Brazil and with the steady support of all of the Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries.
Haiti is our neighbor and friend. We look forward to working together as a team, with Haiti at the helm, to produce results that will better the lives of the people of Haiti and to spur on progress that will endure.
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