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7960: Kofi Annan: Political stability needed for effective international aid to Haiti (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Political stability needed for effective international aid to Haiti, Annan

18 May - Secretary-General Kofi Annan has reiterated the United Nations'
commitment to assisting the Government of Haiti in its quest for democracy
and development, while stressing that political reconciliation is key to
addressing the country's widespread poverty and receiving aid from the donor
community, according to a just-issued report to the General Assembly.

In his final report on the UN's International Civilian Support Mission in
Haiti (MICAH), which ended on 6 February, the Secretary-General says it is
"regrettable" that the various opportunities to reach a political compromise
before the November 2000 elections were not seized, and that impediments to
the resumption of much-needed international assistance remained in place.

"Concern has been growing that actions of some organizations and political
leaders associated with the Fanmi Lavalas party [of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide] have undermined the democratic process," Mr. Annan writes. "While
hopes were revived by the resumption of political dialogue in the final days
prior to President Aristide's inauguration on 7 February, doubts persisted
that either side was ready or able to make the necessary concessions."

According to the report, there was widespread concern among the opposition
that President Aristide's goal in entering the dialogue may have been to
draw a few opposition and civil society figures into his Government, in
order to regain access to international assistance.

Mr. Annan notes that development assistance and constructive engagement by
the international community could reinforce the more moderate, modernizing
currents within Fanmi Lavalas and increase the likelihood that respect for
political freedoms and human rights will become institutionalized, while
withholding aid could have the undesired effect of pushing political
personalities into taking more extreme positions.

The report further states that in order for the UN to continue helping Haiti
in projects related to the rule of law, it will be necessary to devise new
forms of technical assistance. "To this end, UNDP [the UN Development
Programme] has crafted a comprehensive post-MICAH transition programme and I
call on the Friends of the Secretary-General for Haiti and other Member
States to contribute to this next phase of peace-building in Haiti."

The countries that make up the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General are
Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, the United States and Venezuela.