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Annan urges donor support for Haiti to ensure stability

Annan urges donor support for Haiti to ensure stability

Haiti needs $1.37 billion over the next two years if it is to make a successful transition from conflict to reconciliation and to meet its crucial political, institutional and development needs, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a pledging conference in Washington, DC, today.

In a message to the International Donors Conference on Haiti, delivered by his Special Representative, Juan Gabriel Valdés, Mr. Annan urged 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."

A revolt by an armed band roiled Haiti in late February, prompting the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who now lives in South Africa.

No one should underestimate how fragile Haiti remained, Mr. Annan said. "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."

Both the Haitian people and the international community would be tested in the difficult period ahead, he said. The international community should fully support the Haitian leadership during the years to come.

He welcomed Prime Minister Gerard 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," he added.

Mr. Annan said the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is preparing for "an inclusive and nationwide dialogue and reconciliation process, an even-handed fight against impunity, preparations for free and fair elections and the development of Haiti's economy."