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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks at Security Council stakeout

New York, 29 February 2004

Q: How happy are you that the [Security] Council has been able to act as quickly as they did on this?

SG: I'm extremely happy that they acted very promptly. It is a good sign, and I think that there is good will and political will to do something in Haiti, and we'll be back at 9 o'clock hopefully to have the resolution adopted.

Q: What is your message to the people of Haiti right now?

SG: To remain calm, to work with the new President, and to think of their country and their future, not individual ambitions. And to those who are likely to want to commit serious human rights violations, that they will be held individually accountable.

Q: Does that extend to President Aristide even though he has now left the country?

SG: I'm saying those who are likely to…I'm talking about the current situation.

Q: Have you heard any indication about where President Aristide might be going, or what he might be doing?

SG: No, I don't [inaudible].

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, the Constitution of Haiti calls for the new President to be chosen by the General Assembly, by the legislature of Haiti. We don't have a legislature, therefore he's not President.

SG: Apparently he took his papers from the Prime Minister. This is what I understand.

Q: How involved were you today, in the final hours, before the departure of President Aristide, in phone calls and in guidance?

SG: Apparently he left at 6:30 this morning. I talked to lots of people over the phone yesterday, including President Aristide.

Q: Did you encourage him to depart? Or counsel him in any way?

SG: He had asked for international support and this is what we discussed.

Q: Is two months enough time to get a peacekeeping force in there?

SG: No, we have indicated that we need a realistic timetable and I don't think two months will be enough.

Q: What would prefer?

SG: Three to four months.


Off-the-Cuff on 29 February 2004