NEW YORK, 30 JULY 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3806th MEETING (the question concerning Haiti)
Portugal agrees with the assessment of the political and the security situation in Haiti made by the Secretary-General in his latest report.
Indeed, despite some progress, the situation in the country remains fragile, both in political and economic fields. The continued support of the international community remains vital for the political stability and economic development of Haiti. Without it, it would be much more difficult for the Haitian people to build a society based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.
We also believe that the international presence in Haiti, and the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) in particular, has been extremely important, specifically by assisting the Government to form a public force respectful of legality and by helping to consolidate the transition to democracy. Had UNSMIH not been there, the situation would undoubtedly be far worse. It is very significant in this respect that despite their differences, the Haitian authorities and the main political leaders have requested the maintenance of the United Nations presence in that country. In fact, a self-sustained and fully functioning police force is essential in order to ensure a secure and stable environment, economic rehabilitation and the consolidation of democracy in Haiti.
We concur with the conclusions of the Secretary-General's report that, so far, the Haitian National Police has not reached the level of professionalization required to tackle successfully the problems in fields such as criminal investigation, narcotics and crowd control, among others.
My delegation will therefore vote in favour of the draft resolution before us today on the creation of a new Mission in Haiti, and we consider that the maintenance of a United Nations presence for a period of four months, until 30 November 1997, is of the utmost importance.
We look forward to the Secretary-General's recommendations on the nature of a subsequent international presence in Haiti, in the fields of public security and judicial reform, as well as in monitoring human rights, as called for in the draft resolution before us today. Vitally important to the country's stability is a sustained long-term effort on the part of the international community.
I would like to pay tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, to the UNSMIH personnel and to their Governments, for the positive roles they have played and to the United States and Canada for their crucial role in ensuring the success of the Mission so far.