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7608: Action by Pres. Aristide in furtherance of the 8-pt commitment (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Action by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
In Furtherance of the 8-point Commitment 
Aimed at Resolving the Political Crisis in Haiti  

“..in Haiti we are beginning to move from words to action…” February 28, 2001 - Asst. Sec. Gen. Org. of American States Amb Luigi Einaudi commenting positively on recent action taken by President Aristide towards resolving the political crisis in Haiti.

1.  Electoral Crisis.  Rapid rectification of the problems associated with the May 21st elections through run-offs for disputed Senate seats or by other
credible means.  This rectification is being facilitated by the work of the Lissade Commission.

·   Creation of a legal commission, the Lissade Commission, by President Aristide, in December 2000, to examine problems associated with the May elections.

·   Participation in the first face-to-face meeting with the Convergence Democratique at the Papal Nuncio residence on January 31st to re-launch discussions on a resolution to the electoral controversy. 

·   Engagement of Fanmi Lavalas in intense negotiations, witnessed by representatives of the international community, through to the early hours of
February 7th (Inauguration Day) to reach accord on, among other things, appointment of a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) able to schedule new runoff elections. 

·   Enlisted the support of 5 Fanmi Lavalas senators and 1 independent senator to abstain from Senate activities in order to facilitate a negotiated solution.

·   Proposal to the OAS on March 14th of a new electoral schedule that goes beyond run-offs for the disputed Senate seats and would necessarily reduce
theterms of all sitting senators and deputies. 

2.  New Electoral Council.  Creation of a credible new provisional electoral council (CEP) in consultation with opposition figures to rectify the problems
associated with the disputed Senate seats.

·   Secured the resignation of all 9 members of the CEP that presided over the May 21st elections thereby clearing the way for the appointment of a new CEP.

·   After members of Convergence Democratique refused to participate in the consultation and formation of a new CEP on March 2nd, the Government named a new CEP, which includes members of other political parties in the opposition and members of civil society.

3.  Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering.  Enhance substantially cooperation to combat drug trafficking, including implementation of money laundering
legislation and expansion of maritime cooperation, building on the October 1997 agreement, in order to allow access for U.S. Coast Guard anti-drug operations in Haitian waters.  Strengthen efforts, in collaboration with the US and Dominican Republic Governments, to interdict trafficking across
Haitian/DR border.
·   In one of its first sessions in January 2001, the 47th Legislature, the majority of which is Fanmi Lavalas, ratified the 1997 Maritime Counter Narcotics Agreement with the United States.

·   On February 15 the Anti Money Laundering Law was passed.  It specifically provides that Haiti will cooperate with other nations in fighting money
laundering and further includes provisions relating to extradition proceedingsand the return of assets.  It also includes the creation of a National Committee Against Money Laundering. 

·   Parliament adopted the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

·   Legislation entitled “Control and Repression of Illicit Drugs” was considered and will soon be up for a vote.

·   By unanimous vote of 29 nations, and in recognition of efforts already deployed by the Government of Haiti to combat drug trafficking and money laundering, Haiti was accepted into the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force at the group’s plenary meeting in Trinidad on March 27th.

·   President Aristide has reached out to prominent individuals in law enforcement and anti drug policy circles in the region to initiate the creation of a Presidential Commission to assist Haiti in combating drug trafficking.

4.  Independent Police.  Nominate capable and respected officials for senior security positions, including with the HNP.  Ensure that there is no interference in the professional work and conduct of the HNP by members of
Parliament and others.  Take steps to enhance the professionalism and independence of judicial system.

·   The newly appointed Director General of the HNP has five years experience as head of the Presidential Security Unit, one of several specialized units within the HNP.  In remarks made during his installation he announced the immediate increase in the police corp.

·   After nearly a two-year vacancy, President Aristide filled the position of Secretary of State for Public Security with a member of the private sector not
affiliated with any political party.

·   The School of Magistrate, closed for several months, has been reopened and the director reinstated.  The written entrance examination for the next class
of 30 to 40 members of the judiciary is complete with classes scheduled to begin in one month.

5.  OAS Commission.  Strengthen democratic institutions and protection of human rights through the  establishment of a semi-permanent OAS commission to
facilitate dialogue among Haitian political, civic and business leaders and through international monitoring of the protection of human rights.

·   The Government’s January request to the OAS for a quasi-permanent mission in Haiti to consolidate democratic institutions and reinforce respect and
protection of human rights was followed by a special meeting on March 14th with the Minister of Foreign Affairs after which the OAS issued a resolution
to undertake the necessary consultations with the Government to promote dialogue and strengthen democracy.

·   Following a recent visit by President Aristide to the women’s prison, a special review of women in pre-trial detention is underway by the President of the Civil Court and has led thus far to the release of 30 women in prolonged pre-trial detention or preventive detention. Nine other cases have been expedited to the instruction phase of the judicial process in compliance
with the criminal procedure code.  The Minister of Justice is committed to expeditiously reviewing the status of all similarly situated prisoners.

·   Announced on April 2nd the Government’s commitment to sign on to the Chapultepec Declaration to strengthen the rights of journalists.   

6.  Open Government.  Seek to install a broad-based   Government including “technocrats” and members of the opposition.

·   The Government installed on March 2nd responds to this criteria: 

i.  the Minister of Planning is president of an  independent political party in the opposition;

ii. the Minister of Commerce is from the private sector and is a former minister from the regime in power in the early 1980’s; 

iii.    the Minister of Tourism is a member of CLED, Haiti’s center for free enterprise; 

iv. the Minister of Justice, former president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, was an attorney in private practice who represented the interests of the more privileged members of the private sector; and 

v.  the Minister of Finance is former director of SOFIDES, a USAID funded development bank, and he is associated with two private investment groups, one in the south and one in the north.

7.  International Assistance.  Initiate new dialogue with international financial institutions concerning sound budgetary proposals and economic reforms to enhance free markets and promote private investment.  Such measures will be aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating growth.
·   The Ministers of Finance and Planning recently returned from the annual meeting of the governors of the InterAmerican Development Bank in Santiago,Chile.  Following a meeting with the President of the IDB, where the Ministers explained the efforts by the Government to negotiate a compromise with the
opposition, address the economic crisis and reduce poverty, the IDB, echoing earlier commitment by the World Bank, responded positively to the funding
request by Haiti and announced that it is prepared to release the following funds:

i.  54 million dollars for a potable water project

ii. 20 million dollars for education

iii. 22 million dollars health project

iv.  52 million dollars for rural roads

8.  Illegal Migration.  Negotiate agreement for repatriation of illegal migrants.              

·   Thus far, there are several indications that conditions in Haiti will change dramatically, creating an environment, which fosters hope and security for
allHaitians, and discouraging illegal emigration.  The release of international funds for development projects will impact positively on the quality of life of most Haitians.  During President Aristide’s first term, 
prior to the coup d’etat and following his restoration in October 1994, only a comparatively small number of people took to the high seas.  The commitment of the Lavalas Government to continue a program to  construct schools and medical clinics throughout the country as well as the agrarian reform program will have a similar positive effect.  It should be noted that the Government
of Haiti has continued to accept the return of refugees interdicted on the high seas by the US Coast Guard.

>From the Office of the Foreign Press Liaison
(011509) 228-2058