in English and in French
This morning the Security Council met and of course expressed all its condolences again to the Haitian people and to the UN organisation. We have asked the Secretary General to convey the condolences to all the families of the Minustah people who died doing their duty, especially M. Annabi and M. Da Costa. For the French side, the head of the elections department, M. Marc Plum died there and we have a lot of missing people.
Now we have to look to the near future, providing aid. The Secretary General has asked a significant increased of the Minustah forces: 2 000 soldiers and 1500 police. So we have to vote a new resolution. Of course, it will be voted in the coming hours. We have to act very quickly and very strongly. We need the soldiers to protect, to aid for the provision of aid. Our contingent which is doing a great job is already a bit outstretched.
Q: Is there any discussion about making a force far more robust, having greater responsibility?
I think the first step now is immediately to allow the deployment of more soldiers and more policemen. The second step will be to examine the mandate of the force as it is to see what is necessary to adjust it to the new situation. It is obvious that it has not been drafted for this disaster. So we have to look at it in the coming days. So it would be done in the coming days.
Q: What countries might contribute to the soldiers and police resources requested? When you say the resolution might be adopted in the coming hours, do you mean today?
I think it would be adopted tomorrow; as for the countries which are going to provide more soldiers and more police. I know that the European Union has had an extraordinary meeting of its foreign ministers in Brussels today and that it has announced that we are going to do it, as for Europeans. For the other ones I don’t know. I don’t think it will be 1500 but we are going to provide policemen. I don’t know for the countries. It hasn’t been announced this morning.
Q: Given the near collapse of the government and the administration, the president is still there but it looks like you are going to have to explore the possibility that the UN may need to play an administering role in the country.
First, Haiti is a sovereign country. Secondly, the administration of Haiti which has been awfully hurt is doing its best. It is true that the buildings collapsed but the government of Haiti is working, the administration is trying really to do its best. Our job is not to play the role of the government of Haiti but to support the government of Haiti and it is the case now. You have a lot of meetings of coordination where you have representatives of the government of Haiti, representatives of the UN and of countries directly involved working together. There will not be a trusteeship on Haiti. It is cooperation with a sovereign country which is the Republic of Haiti.
Q: Médecins sans frontières complained that its planes couldn’t get in to the airport and blamed the Americans. Does France confirm that?
Of course, no. I think we are extremely grateful and personally I said it in the Council, extremely grateful for what the US government is doing, and especially managing the airport. You know, frustrations are understandable. You have a small airport, in international terms, which was devastated by the earthquake and you have hundred of planes which want to land. So it’s totally normal that there are delays, but I think that the situation has dramatically improved. Yesterday, you know, it was possible to have sixty planes landing and today it will be one hundred planes landing. But the most important will be to work on the port. We have to rehabilitate the port where we can bring most of the aid.
Once again, we are living in the US after all, and we want to express our gratitude for the mobilization of the US administration and the US people.
Q: How great is the risk of civilian unrest breaking out in the next few days?
Civilian unrest is always possible. You have to understand that people are desperate. Minustah is doing its best to insure law and order. We have to reinforce the Minustah and we have to bring aid to these people. We have also to look for the future beyond the immediate relief, in terms of reconstruction of Haiti. So the President of the Republic has proposed a conference for international reconstruction and we want to have it in the coming week, in March if possible. We have a first meeting for preparing the reconstruction of Haiti, in Montreal in Canada, on the 25th of January and the idea is to have a real international effort, not only to rebuild the buildings after an earthquake but to rebuild, if we can, a Haitian economy, a Haitian State.
Q: Monsieur l’ambassadeur, pouvez vous dire en français ce que vous venez d’expliquer?
Notre priorité est tout d’abord une priorité immédiate, assurer l’ordre dans les rues d’Haïti, c’est pour ça que nous voulons renforcer les effectifs de la Minustah. Il faut aussi apporter l’aide à la population mais au-delà de cet effort indispensable, nous devons penser à la reconstruction d’Haïti. Le président Sarkozy a proposé la tenue d’une conférence internationale sur la reconstruction d’Haïti. Il l’a fait dans des contacts avec le président Obama, le Premier ministre canadien et tous les pays les plus concernés. Cette idée a eu un écho puisque nous allons avoir une première réunion de préparation à Montréal au Canada, le 25 janvier. L’idée serait d’avoir cette conférence de reconstruction dès le mois de Mars, pour profiter de l’élan de solidarité internationale. Mais l’objectif doit être de reconstruire une économie et un Etat haïtiens.
Q : La Minustah est-elle une priorité ?
La priorité dans l’immédiat, c’est la reconstruction de la Minustah. Le Secrétaire général a demandé 3500 hommes (2000 soldats et 1500 policiers) et naturellement le Conseil de sécurité va lui apporter son soutien.