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9452: ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (fwd)
From: Robert Benodin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
3rd Session - Brussels (Belgium) 29 October to 1 November 2001
José RIJO (Dominican Republic) had asked about the Council's measures
following suspension of cooperation with Haiti. The President-in-Office of
the Council said that, following talks with the Haitian authorities in
Brussels on 26 September 2000, the European Union had said it was aware of
Haiti's serious social and economic situation and the importance of not
penalising the Haitian people.
The Council thought that the basis principles of the Cotonou Agreement set
out in Article 9, had been breached by failure to comply with electoral law
in Haiti, where democratic principles were still not being respected.
He was willing to review his decision before 31 December 2001 in the event
of positive developments, but reserved the right to take additional measures
if there were no improvement.
ACP-EU : 31-10-01(1) JOINT PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
The Head of the Haïtian delegation, Mr Pierre Sançon PRINCE, opened the
debate on urgent subjects relating to the situation in the Caribbean region,
by calling for the country’s opposition party to be made to “see reason”.
Mr Prince talked about the evolution of the political situation in Haïti and
the position of the European Union. He said concessions made by the Haïtian
authority had not led to an agreement because the opposition had refused to
accept them. He warned that the EU would be responsible for the human
suffering which arose from the resolution. And he endorsed suggestions for a
delegation to visit Haïti, as he said they had nothing to hide. He summed up
by saying the main thing was to ease the suffering caused by sanctions
imposed by the international community.
Mr R. PRESBOT (Dominican Republic) disputed comments made in the draft
resolution concerning four Caribbean countries including the Dominican
Republic. He said the Joint Assembly was calling on the Dominican Republic
to ensure that the security forces respect human rights. This was damaging
to the image of a country which depends heavily on tourism. He pointed out
that several measures had been taken, such as the establishment of an
ombudsman service and labour legislation and said that in this regard he did
not agree with the references made in the draft resolution. Summing up, Mr
Presbot called for a revision in the way resolutions are drafted, saying
that countries concerned should be consulted.
Concepció FERRER (EPP-ED, E) said that the fight for development was also
the fight for peace and justice. Referring to Haïti, she said that the
country could not be left to its own fate. As regards Cuba, she said that it
had expressed an interest in signing the Cotonou Agreement; this she said
demonstrated a willingness for change. However, action was needed before any
change in the Joint Assembly. Summing up, Mrs Ferrer said Cuba should be
helped towards pluralistic democracy and human rights.
Still asking for change in Haïti, Mrs Karin JUNKER (PES, D) revealed that
she had recently visited the country and was familiar with the situation
there. She said President ARISTIDE had made promises for change to the
American states, which had not been fulfilled. She appealed for dialogue
between all the forces within the country to try and bring about a peaceful
reconciliation. She also suggested that the Organisation of American states
should try and help find a solution for Haïti.
Mr Bashir KHANBHAI (EPP-ED, UK) expressed the view that it was taking too
long for Haïti to sort itself out. Other countries in the Caribbean like
Mauritius, he said had the same resources but were much richer than Haïti.
He said that there were 1.3 million Haïtians in the United States who could
send money back home to help the country.
Mr Edwin LAURENT (St. Lucia) also called for support for hurricane-hit
Belize. He commented on the situation in Haïti and appealed for an early
restoration of co-operation and a change in the policy of exclusion, which
he said was not working. He welcomed Cuba within the regional ‘Cariforum’ as
he said this would be a prelude to the country participating in the Cotonou
The leader of the Haïtian Delegation, Mr Prince, concluded that since the
opposition refuses to cooperate, it would be necessary to look elsewhere for
an agreement. He said he was please with the actions of the EU but
reiterated his sentiment that Haïti does not deserve sanctions and needs to
have them withdrawn.