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7714: Aristide acts immediately on support from Summit (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Date: April 24, 2001
Contact:  Michelle Karshan, Foreign Press Liaison
Tel.: (011509) 228-2058 or mkarshan@aol.com

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide acts immediately
on the encouragement and support received 
at the Summit of the Americas

In the Summit's closing declaration, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien 
acknowledged that President Aristide has made progress in his efforts to 
fulfill the 8-point agreement and asked him to "take rapid action on all of 
the commitments made in December" and called on all parties to work "in a 
spirit of openness and conciliation" to resolve the political crisis.  
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, acting immediately on this support and 
encouragement, upon his return from the Summit on April 23rd, immediately 
held a press conference at Haiti's International Airport once again inviting 
the opposition to a "fruitful dialogue" in the spirit of "concertation," 
"consensus," and "compromise."  Pleased that the OAS is responding to his 
request to assist in the process, President Aristide welcomes the upcoming 
meeting with the OAS and expresses confidence that there will be a positive 
resolution to the political crisis in the very near future 

President Aristide again appealed to the opposition saying. "This is the hour 
of dialogue, this is the hour of concertation, this is the hour of consensus, 
this is the hour of compromise. Our arms are open to receive all our citizens 
in mutual respect to continue to find those essential solutions for 
democratic growth. I am the president of all Haitians.  I have an obligation 
to reach out to you to invite you to sit together"

President Aristide reiterated that the government is open and encompasses 
many sectors, "my government and the Provisional Electoral Council include 
opposition members. What I am concerned about, as president of all Haitians, 
is to allow a dialogue that can energize the participation of all citizens in 
the management of public affairs. If I want to be president of all the 
people, it is necessary that I do so in a way that includes the vast 
majority. There is no future for Lavalas without the opposition."
Referring to the upcoming visit of the Secretary-General of the OAS, Cesar 
Gaviria, to Haiti, the President stated that, "The date planned to assess the 
current process is May 2nd. From now on we hope that through dialogue we will 
achieve something substantial. As for us, we have been ready and we are 
ready. May the others do the same so that on May 2nd we may indeed have 
something substantial that I would call the end of this crisis."
Prior to his departure, President Aristide, in an address to the nation, 
explained that it is critical "to find a resolution to the political crisis 
in order to resolve the economic crisis."  Upon his return, he indicated that 
the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank are committed to 
releasing funds as soon as there is a resolution to the crisis arising from 
the May 21st elections.  "If this evening, a patriotic miracle occurs in the 
Haitian crisis, the IDB would be the first financial backer to resolve 
several hundred millions of dollars in favor of the country."

Prior to the president's departure, while acknowledging the extreme 
conditions the Haitian people are living under, he called on the nation for 
peace.  Upon his return he said, "I applaud all Haitians who together 
maintained the country in peace while I was not here," and he complimented 
the Haitian people on their intelligence and for seeking balance.  President 
Aristide assured the Haitian people that "one of the greatest victories that 
they have won in this summit is that they have thirty-three other countries 
standing beside them, so that when they cast their ballots their votes will 
not be stolen through a coup d'etat." Solidifying his belief that democracy 
has indeed taken hold in Haiti, he stated that, "There will be no more coups 

On the Summit itself, President Aristide stated that, "We, the democratically 
elected heads of states of the Americas, recognize the values and practices 
of democracy are fundamentalThe maintenance and reinforcement of the state of 
law and of scrupulous respect for the democratic system is both an overall 
objective and an engagement which are essential conditions for our presence 
at the Summit and for future summits. By consequence, all alterations or 
unconstitutional interruptions of democratic order in a state of the 
hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of a 
government and of a state of process of the Summit of the Americas."

President Aristide, in explaining his role at the Summit and the outcomes he 
sought, stated "And we, the heads of states of democratically-elected 
governments in the Americas, before adopting a plan of action, worked to 
reinforce the representation of democracy...and the protection of human 
rights and fundamental liberties.  We searched to create greater prosperity 
and enlarge all the economic openings in favor of social justice and the 
development of human potential."

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