Ending visit, Security Council praises UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti

Ending visit, Security Council praises UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti

Security Council mission's wrap up press conference
Winding up a four-day fact-finding visit to Haiti, the United Nations Security Council praised the UN peacekeeping mission there for its work and said it was glad to have had the opportunity to assemble the Caribbean nation's political, electoral and human rights parties at the same table for talks.

In the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the leader of the 15-member team, Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg of Brazil, said he was confident that the general elections would be held this year, as scheduled, despite the present violence, and benefit not only the international community, but Haiti itself.

A new president is scheduled to be installed next February.

During the mission, which ended on Saturday, the Council delegation took advantage of its presence to express to the head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Juan Gabriel Valdés, "our satisfaction with the excellent work of MINUSTAH," Mr. Sardenberg said.

Re-establishing security was a primary task, the Council said, acknowledging the efforts of the Government to end the violence of armed illegal gangs.

The delegation encouraged the Government to proceed with the launch of the national programme of disarmament, demobilization and re-integration (DDR) while giving a concrete response to claims from authentic former members of the Armed Forces of Haiti, disbanded by ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the mid-1990s, the mission said.

The delegation also held talks with Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, who told them that "the problems of stabilization and security are rooted in the poverty and the unemployment of up to 70 per cent of the population," MINUSTAH said.

The Council also visited Haiti's second city, Cap Haïtien, and the MINUSTAH troops from Chile stationed there, as well as the port city of Gonaïves, which was recovering from widespread flooding that killed some 3,000 people last September.

For its part, the Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Consultative Group on Haiti, led by the Permanent Representative of Canada, Allan Rock, and which also ended on Saturday its four-day mission to assess the country's economic development potential, said it would submit a report to ECOSOC.

The report would emphasize that the three major axes of long-term Haitian development should be providing education, building infrastructure and repairing the environment, it said.