Permanent Council Receives Report of OAS Special Mission to Haiti

Genevieve Libonati, USOAS Political Counselor, addresses the Permanent Council, February 12, 2016.
Genevieve Libonati, USOAS Political Counselor, addresses the Permanent Council, February 12, 2016.

On February 12, 2016, the OAS Permanent Council met to receive the report of the OAS Special Mission to Haiti presented by Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, Chair of the Permanent Council. USOAS Political Counselor Genevieve Libonati delivered remarks.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.   My delegation takes this opportunity to thank the Chair for his excellent report outlining the efforts of the OAS’s special mission to Haiti as requested by the Government of Haiti under Article 17 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and agreed to by this Council in our meeting on January 27, 2016.

The United States welcomes the agreement by Executive and Legislative authorities in Haiti to ensure the continuity of governance and the completion of the ongoing electoral process.  Echoing the Core Group statement of February 6, we trust “that all actors will keep the best interests of Haiti and its people above all other considerations.”

We also acknowledge and congratulate the very important and constructive role played by the Special Mission of the Organization of American States in fostering a spirit of consensus among Haitian stakeholders.

The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Haiti, the OAS, and other international partners so as to move toward the full and successful implementation of this important agreement to strengthen democracy in Haiti.

My delegation congratulates the OAS special mission, led by the Chair of this Council, Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, for its persistent and patient diplomacy to foster a compromise, and a constructive way forward – indeed a Haitian solution – to resolve the political impasse affecting the constitutional transfer of power in Haiti.

The agreement, as outlined before us today, sets forth a framework to clear a path to the completion of the electoral process and the inauguration of a democratically elected president in accordance with Haiti’s constitution.

It is now imperative that all political actors honor this agreement, and that all stakeholders continue to move forward in a spirit of peace and constructive dialogue to achieve a political solution in the interest of all the Haitian people.

As my delegation has stated before, we do not believe an indefinite period of unelected transitional government is in accordance with the democratic principles the United States supports‎ – and which the Haitian people deserve.

We are thus encouraged by the clear timeframe established by this agreement in order to see completion of the electoral cycle and buttress Haiti’s democratic political institutional process to reflect the will of the Haitian people.

The Haitian government’s request for assistance from the Secretary General for the strengthening and preservation of the nation’s democratic system under Article 17 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter was particularly timely, and we commend the Government of Haiti for availing itself of the tools provided by this institution under the Democratic Charter to ensure a peaceful political solution.

The Democratic Charter provides Member States and this Council with numerous options to assist a requesting member state in such situations, and we must take advantage of all suitable tools as we all work to support Haiti’s request for our collective assistance.

Mr. Chair, the OAS has been, and should continue to be, involved as this process unfolds and continue its vital role in encouraging all parties in Haiti to find a negotiated way forward that can ensure a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power in Haiti.

My delegation again wishes to recognize Secretary General Almagro’s unremitting commitment to defend democracy and human rights whenever and where ever needed in our hemisphere.  In our view, his leadership and the tireless dedication of the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy were key elements in achieving meaningful progress on this matter that concerns us all.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.