Haiti Election Is Chance to Re-Energize Recovery, Clinton Says
The election of former pop star Michel Martelly as Haiti’s president presents a chance to revitalize efforts to rebuild the Caribbean island nation, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said at the United Nations.
“This is an enormous opportunity to rebuild the Haitian economy,” Clinton, the special UN envoy for Haitian relief, told the UN Security Council today. “The democratic transition of power, to anyone who understands the history of Haiti, is a cause for celebration. This is a remarkable thing.”
The Haiti Electoral Council announced this week that Martelly won a runoff election and will be inaugurated as president in May.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, whose country holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency this month, called the meeting to assess Haiti’s recovery from the earthquake that killed 300,000 people and the cholera epidemic that claimed 4,600 lives last year. Haiti’s President Rene Preval, ministers of 11 other Latin American nations and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also attended the meeting.
“The country’s economy is on its knees,” Ban said, noting that 680,000 Haitians displaced by the earthquake remain in camps and that only 20 percent of the rubble has been removed. He said in a report to the Security Council that Martelly faces “growing disenchantment” with the government’s inability to provide basic health and other services.
Clinton said only 37 percent of the $5 billion pledged at a donors conference in March 2010 has been disbursed. The peaceful election, he said should spur greater delivery of the pledges and disbursements.
“The meager results achieved require us to reflect on the manner in which we are carrying out our work,” Santos said. “This is an ideal opportunity to reorganize.”
Santos suggested that the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which includes 12,000 soldiers and civilian police, be reconfigured to add personnel to clear debris and rebuild government offices destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake. The “greatest enemies” of stability and development, he said, are “fragile control and supply of basic services” by the government.
Preval, describing himself as the first Haitian president in 25 years to leave office without being jailed or exiled, called on Martelly to “govern in a spirit of openness, inclusive dialogue and respect for the rights of association and expression.”
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
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