My delegation would like to associate itself with the statement made by the delegation of Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti.
At the outset, I would like to extend the condolences of the Argentine People and Government to the United Nations, to the countries of the victims and to the families of those who died in the service of peace in Afghanistan, as a result of the attack on the United Nations compound in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif last Friday. We see again that intolerance toward the other, for religious or cultural motives, leads to unacceptable acts of violence. We hope that the sacrifice of those who offered their lives seeking international peace and security will make us redouble our efforts to build a culture of peace.
I would like to congratulate you on the Presidency of the Security Council on the month of April and specially thank you for convening this open debate on “The question concerning Haiti”, which gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our strong commitment with that country, as showed by the fact that 70% of the personnel deployed by Argentina in seven United Nations peacekeeping missions serves in MINUSTAH.
The international community has reiterated on several occasions its strong commitment to Haiti. Even more, the successive crises caused by natural disasters of devastating effects, keep reminding us of the necessity to maintain a continuing cooperation effort.
Following the January 2000 earthquake, an Interim Commission was established, with an essential task in terms of coordination of international assistance. We hope that the United Nations continues to play a relevant role in that regard.
Argentina, for its part, has assumed additional specific commitments which we continue to perform in close contact with the Haitian authorities, such as the delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout the White Helmets (amounting to a total of 4 missions between 2004 and 2010), and the promotion of self-production of fresh food in household, school and community gardens, through the program “Haiti Pro-Huerta”, aiming at food security as the final goal.
The strong commitment of Argentina with Haiti has also manifested itself in its active participation in UNASUR, an organization which, among the many steps and commitments it undertook, in February 2010, decided to establish a fund for the reconstruction of the country, and, in August 2010, institutionalised its presence in the Island with the opening of a Technical Secretariat in Port-au-Prince.
Notwithstanding the commitment assumed by the international community as a whole in the reconstruction of Haiti, we are aware of the dissatisfaction of some sectors of the Haitian population due to the failure to deliver the humanitarian assistance promised, which has indirectly affected the image of the entire international presence in Haiti. This has led to thinking about the possibility to adequate the mandate of the Mission, and also about the manner in which the countries of our region would participate in the new phase.
We are convinced that national ownership is the fundamental principle to be taken into account in peacekeeping and peacebuilding endeavours. In this regard, together with other countries of the region, we think it is very important to establish as son as possible a direct contact with the elected authorities, in order to know their opinion as to what they expect from the international cooperation as a whole, as well as from the support that the Member States of the Organization may provide for the reconstruction of Haiti.
In this regard, several Latin American Foreign and Defence Ministers met in Montevideo on March 10th to reflect on the matter. Following the discussions, we decided to elaborate a report on the situation in Haiti and on the possible cooperation of the region with the new authorities, including throughout institutional support and MINUSTAH contingents.
Once the said regional report is finalized, we are confident that we will be able to work with the Secretariat so that, in the preparation of the next Report of the Secretary General and of the budget for MINUSTAH, appropriate attention is given to two important matters. On the one hand, due attention should be paid to aspects related to the strengthening of the rule of law and the reconstruction of institutions in Haiti, such as the training and equipment of the Haitian National Police. On the other hand, it is of utmost importance to have in mind what MINUSTAH can do for peacebuilding in the country, including the possibility of that the engineers in the field of reconstruction.
Finally, and regardless of the criterion which may be adopted concerning the mandate of MINUSTAH, it is essential that the United Nations assumes a higher responsibility in the coordination of the international efforts in support of Haiti, always on the basis of the priorities set by the said Government, in order to make sustained progress towards the consolidation of a framework of stability which allows for the progressive transfer of responsibilities to the Haitian authorities.
Thank you very much.
Misión Permanente Argentina ante las Naciones Unidas