Haiti’s president credits UN peacekeeping mission with helping to foster stability
Addressing the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, René Préval noted that Haiti is all too frequently on the UN’s agenda because of its problems of insecurity and political unrest. “I am speaking on behalf of a country that somewhat hasty analysis describes as a ‘failed State,’” he said.
“Haiti is on the way to bidding farewell to that State slowly, patiently yet with determination,” he said, noting that organized armed gangs that had wreaked violence on the population have been dismantled, and there are no longer ‘no-go’ zones too dangerous to enter. Inflation has dipped below 10 per cent, while gross domestic product (GDP) is up after 10 years of decline, he added.
Peace, he stressed, is an essential condition to enable the country’s political forces to “put an end to their endless quarrels.”
Anticipating a one-year extension of MINUSTAH, he said this move would be “quite timely” and served as a reminder that gains in Haiti – including the victory over insecurity, the holding of democratic elections, improved governance and a strengthened judicial system – were made possible “in large part due to the efforts undertaken by the UN force in the country.”
The country’s national police, he added, “although young, inexperienced and ill-equipped, has been courageous and determined in the battle against insecurity, but the support of MINUSTAH at its side has been greatly appreciated.”
Voicing gratitude to the UN, the Security Council and friendly countries that have helped Haiti, he said the country’s people continue to see the presence of foreign armed forces on their soil as a “wound with respect to their national sovereignty.”
At the same time, he stressed that “in practical terms this is the only formula that is realistic and available at this time that enables Haitians to restore freedom and live in peace.”
He said it was up to Haitian people to benefit from the period of calm, regroup and reconsider the future with a positive vision while the country strengthens its cohesion, modernizes its judicial system and improves its ability to take action in favour of economic recovery and sustainable development.