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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 12, 1993


Since taking office, President Clinton has been committed to a process that will lead to the restoration of democracy and the return of President Aristide to Haiti. We have worked closely with the United Nations and the Organization of American States, first by intensifying the pressure on the military regime through sanctions, and later through negotiations that led to the Governor's Island Agreement on July 3, 1993.

A number of critical steps in the Governor's Island process have been completed. A new government under Prime Minister Malval is in place and just last week, President Aristide granted amnesty for political crimes as contemplated under the Governor's Island Agreement.

As part of the Agreement, all parties invited the international community to participate in an international mission in Haiti under UN auspices, with two basic elements. One group of about 500 police from French-speaking nations is to work alongside a newly constituted Haitian police force to provide monitoring and training. The second element, including Canadians and about 600 U.S. military personnel, are to provide technical assistance to the Haitian military in the form of military training, including training in civic action programs such as construction of health clinics.

The American military's part in this effort is to help in the task of professionalizing the Haitian military through nonlethal training in basic military skills and through humanitarian assistance, by means of civic action construction programs. The only U.S. military role is in the military professionalization and humanitarian assistance effort, a non-confrontational role. The mission of U.S. military personnel is not to maintain security in Haiti. This is a technical assistance -- not a peace-making or peace-keeping -- mission.

Such a mission depends upon the willing cooperation of the Haitian military and a cooperative and secure environment. Clearly, such an environment did not exist yesterday when the USS Harlan County arrived in Port au Prince. We consider the failure by the Haitian military and police leadership to provide for the protection of our personnel to be a serious obstruction of the Governor's Island process.

Accordingly, we will press the United Nations Security Council to reimpose the economic sanctions that had been lifted under the Governor's Island Agreement. Once imposed, these sanctions should remain in effect until the international community is convinced that the Governor's Island process is being complied with in good faith and through clear actions.

Our technical assistance mission will proceed when we are convinced that the Governor's Island process is back on track and the Haitian authorities have demonstrated by conduct as well as words that the mission will have a secure and cooperative environment in which to operate. In any event, when our mission proceeds, all necessary measures will be taken to assure the safety and security of our military personnel.

The onus for this breakdown in the Governor's Island process, under which democracy can be restored to Haiti and the process of rebuilding can begin, lies squarely with those authorities who failed to provide for security and order. It is not in Haiti's interest to be isolated once again by the international community. We will continue to work diligently to complete the Governor's Island process and restore democracy to Haiti.

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