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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Informal Plenary Meeting on Haiti

New York, 13 January 2010

[Remarks by H.E. Mr. Michel Tommo Monthe, Acting President of the United Nations General Assembly]

Excellencies,

As you are aware, a tragedy of immense proportions has befallen the people of Haiti.

I would like all of us to begin this meeting with a minute of silence, remembrance and prayers for all the lives lost in the earthquake that struck Haiti yesterday afternoon.

On behalf of the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Dr. Ali Treki, and all the Member States, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of all Haitians as well as to the families of the United Nations staff and peacekeepers from MINUSTAH, all our brave colleagues, who have passed away in this disaster. The thoughts, sympathy and support of the entire international community are with them at this difficult moment.

The catastrophic earthquake has caused a grave humanitarian crisis. The extent of human loss and damage to infrastructure is yet unknown, as more reports come in and relief workers get to the ground.

The situation is overwhelming. Haiti is neither equipped nor does it have the resources to meet the challenge. It requires the full support and concerted action by the entire international community. The United Nations and other actors are already in motion. We need to mobilize all our resources and to coordinate all our efforts to help the people of Haiti in the most urgent and effective manner.

The initial response and commitment of support from world leaders is encouraging. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon is actively engaged in coordinating the UN efforts and resources. More information on the situation on ground will be extremely helpful and necessary in carrying out this work.   

With that objective, we have convened this urgent informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly. We shall hear a briefing from the Secretary General. I have also the honour to welcome President Bill Clinton (who is also the UN Special Envoy to Haiti). I am sure this meeting will reinforce our continuous support for the Government and the people of Haiti.

Now, let me pass the floor to the Secretary-General.

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