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Haiti: Security Council deplores opposition's rejection of peacemaking plans

25 February 2004 The United Nations Security Council today deplored the Haitian opposition's rejection of proposals from two regional organizations that could form the basis for a peaceful compromise with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to stem the Caribbean country's violent political crisis.

In a press statement read by Council President Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, both the Aristide Government and the opposition were called on to accept and implement the provisions of the Plan of Action of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

"Implementation of the plan offers the best opportunity to restore confidence and dialogue and for Haitians to resolve differences peacefully, democratically and constitutionally," the President said.

Council members also called on the Government and the armed rebels to respect human rights and stop using violence to advance political goals.

"Those responsible for human rights violations should be held accountable," Mr. Wang said.

Calling attention to the "serious humanitarian situation in Haiti," Council members called on all sides to facilitate the distribution of food and medicine and to respect UN personnel involved in the delivery of relief aid.

The presidential statement came after Under-Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast briefed the Council in a closed-door session.

According to the text of his remarks, released to the press, Mr. Prendergast noted that President Aristide had accepted in principle the CARICOM-OAS plan, which also had the endorsement of France. "President Aristide did so on condition that he would serve out his current term in office, which concludes in 2006," he observed.

The UN continues to support CARICOM and the OAS and was "encouraged by the interest and diplomatic initiatives of important Member States," Mr. Prendergast said.

Recalling past UN bids to assist Haiti, however, he said, "We all need to recognize that the help we have tried to give has not had the desired effect."

"The events of February have shown us that Haiti requires a long-term, sustained and broad engagement by the international community," he added.

At the same time, Mr. Prendergast acknowledged that "there are limitations to what the assistance of the international community can accomplish."

"Fundamentally, it is the Haitian people who must chart a path out of the current impasse and Haitians who must learn to conduct their affairs in a fundamentally different way," he said. "Stability, prosperity and good governance require them to show an ability to compromise and share power."

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