His Excellency Mr. Jean Bertrand Aristide
I have the honour of addressing participants on behalf of the people of Haiti, who will be celebrating two hundred years of independence in two years; two hundred years of independence that should symbolize a historic transition towards sustainable development. We are rich in human, cultural and historic values, but the economic indicators place us among the 48 countries whose combined gross national product is the same as the assets of the three richest individuals in the world; yes, that world where one-fifth of the people still live in extreme poverty. The foreign debt burden causes suffering for many. There are 800 million hungry people; 850 million are illiterate; and their suffering is indeed ours because when one person suffers, everyone suffers.
Against that backdrop, the spirit of Monterrey can inspire us because we are talking here about financing for sustainable development at the national and worldwide levels. We find reflected here the decisions we made more than 10 years ago: Investment in human capital, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, combating corruption, drug traffic and terrorism, making sensible use of public resources with ever greater transparency, participation and justice. To achieve sustainable development, we are fully resolved to keep the door of dialogue open always.
We have scheduled democratic elections for November 2002 or for the first half of 2003. This is part of our policy of being open and committed to peace and social cohesion. We would thank the seven Senators who have resigned and all the other Senators and representatives who have agreed to give up two years of their term. This is a patriotic gesture. We also thank the Caribbean Community and those foreign friends who, together with the Haitian people, have called for the lifting of economic sanctions against Haiti.
The closer we come to ending crisis, the more we want to thank all those friends in the international community who are helping us emerge from crisis. Just yesterday, here, President Hipolito Mejia Dominguez recalled how important and valuable this solidarity is. The harmonious relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti demonstrate our resolve to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development throughout the island.
So we commit ourselves to promoting the market, preparing a framework favourable to partnership between the public and private sectors, investment and economic and human growth, pending the emergence of an equitable economic system open to everyone.
We are happy at this point to see in the shadow of Monterrey some rays of hope lighting our path to 2004. The Republic of Haiti will warmly welcome all those who plan to visit us upon the bicentennial of our independence.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.