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7985: HAITI'S FLAG DAY: PRESIDENT JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE APPEALS FOR UNITY AND PEACE (fwd)
Date: May 21, 2001
Contact: Michelle Karshan, Foreign Press Liaison to President Jean-Bertrand
Tel.: (011509)228-2058, email: email@example.com
HAITI'S FLAG DAY: PRESIDENT JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE
APPEALS TO THE OPPOSITION FOR UNITY AND PEACE CITING THE DEEPENING SUFFERING
OF THE HAITIAN PEOPLE
".the government and the opposition should unite every time it is necessary.
Right now it is more than necessary."
After months of well-documented efforts by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
to resolve Haiti's crisis through negotiations, President Aristide used
Haiti's Flag Day on May 18th to call upon one of Haiti's opposition groups
to look beyond their differences and immediately unite for the sake of the
nation. Through a televised speech from the birthplace of Haiti's flag
President Aristide said, "Under the flag of our father Dessalines, the
opposition and the government must unite themselves every time the nation's
interests are endangered. Under the flag of our father Dessalines, the
government and the opposition should unite every time it is necessary. Right
now it is more than necessary."
President Aristide articulated the urgency for an end to this crisis when he
spoke on his citizens' behalf stating that, "Too much suffering. Too much
delay. Too much aid is blocked because of a crisis that is already done.
Too many innocent people are infected by the crisis. Under the same flag of
our father Dessalines, the government and the opposition cannot be enemies.
Opposing, yes. Adverse, maybe. Enemies, no."
Appealing to the opposition to respect democratic principles and
constitutional mandates, President Aristide said, "To my fellow compatriots
in the opposition, I address to you my wishes for peace in pointing out to
you that the land of Haiti can tolerate but one democratic sun, under which
we all can shed rays of peace. Do not be afraid! Let us not be afraid! Do
not be afraid of universal suffrage! Democracy is a prerequisite for
stability and peace. It is from this font of democracy that economic
stability will flow. Peace is a prerequisite to investment With a nascent
democracy and such a fragile economy, we cannot be indifferent to the
phenomenon of a geo-economy. Insecurity is contradictory to peace. Peace is
the source of unity."
Referring to the proud history of Haiti and its forefathers, President
Aristide said, "Even despite the contradictions and vicissitudes of their
time, Dessalines and Petion found a way to transcend their racial
differences, command the geopolitical landscape and unite to protect our
self-respect.If for the flag, for the nation, to die is beautiful, let us
walk together so Haiti can live."
To the Haitian people's detriment, the international community has continued
to withhold monies originally committed to Haiti since 1997. Despite their
commitment to release those funds once free and fair elections were held,
funds are still being held back because of a controversy over the method
to calculate the vote on a handful of Senate seats President Aristide
obtained the consent of those senators in question to step down in the
interest of the nation and schedule new parliamentary elections. One
opposition group has stonewalled all of President Aristide's efforts for a
resolution to the crisis.
This past week the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Fanmi Lavalas
spokesperson, the President of the Senate, the senators who have agreed to
step down and popular organization leaders have all reiterated their
commitment to the negotiations and to new parliamentary elections. President
Aristide remains steadfast in his commitment to dialogue with the
President Aristide has invited this opposition group to meet on several
occasions to no avail. Still committed to finding a peaceful solution and
looking for common ground to move Haiti forward on its democratic journey,
President Aristide said, ".we can transcend our political divergences
through a convergence of patriotism."
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