THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release March 31, 1995
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT WILLIAM CLINTON, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI, AND PRESIDENT JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE AT U.N. TRANSITION CEREMONY
The National Palace Port-au-Prince, Haiti
2:16 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Mr. Secretary General, President Aristide, members of the multinational force in Haiti, members of the United Nations mission in Haiti: We gather to celebrate the triumph of freedom over fear. And we are here to look ahead to the next steps that we will take together to help the people of Haiti strengthen their hard-won democracy.
Six months ago, a 30-nation multinational force, led by the United States, entered Haiti with a clear mission: To ensure the departure of the military regime, to restore the freely-elected government of Haiti, and to establish a secure and stable environment in which the people of Haiti could begin to rebuild their country. Today, that mission has been accomplished, on schedule and with remarkable success.
On behalf of the United States, I thank all the members of the multinational force for their outstanding work, and pledge our support for the United Nations mission in Haiti.
Over the past six months, the multinational force has proved that a shared burden makes for a lighter load. Working together, 30 nations from around the world -- from the Caribbean to Australia, from Bangladesh to Jordan -- demonstrated the effectiveness and the benefits of international peacekeeping. And they helped give the people of Haiti a second chance at democracy.
The multinational force ensured the peaceful transition from the military regime to President Aristide. It removed more than 30,000 weapons and explosive devices from the streets. Through the international police monitors, led by Commissioner Ray Kelly, it trained and monitored an interim police force and worked side by side with them throughout Haiti. And it helped to prepare a permanent civilian police force that will maintain security and respect for human rights in the months and years ahead.
Let me say to the members of the new, permanent police force who are with us here today, you are the guardians of Haiti's new democracy; its future rests on your shoulders. Uphold the constitution. Respect democracy and human rights. Defend them. That is your sacred mission and your solemn obligation.
Now it is the United Nations mission's task to secure and stabilize the environment in Haiti, and to help the government prepare for free and fair elections. The mission, with participants from 33 countries, has the tools it needs to succeed -- a 6,000-strong military force under the command of United States Army General Joseph Kinzer; a 900-member international police force, led by Chief Superintendent Neil Pouliot of Canada, and dozens of well-trained economic, political and legal advisors.
The United Nations mission will end its work here in February 1996, after the election and inauguration of a new president. To all of you taking part in the U.N. mission, I know many challenges lie between here and there. Your work will be demanding and difficult. But the multinational force has set a strong foundation of success upon which to build.
Most important of all, the people of Haiti, have shown a powerful commitment to peace and to reconciliation. Working with them, you can help make real Haiti's reborn promise of democracy. I know you will do that.
Good luck and Godspeed. (Applause.)
SECRETARY BOUTROS-GHALI: President Aristide, President Clinton, colleagues and friends: This is a great day for Haiti. It is a turning point in the international effort to bring peace, stability and justice to the Haitian people.
Today is also a great day for the United Nations. It marks the high points of successful cooperation between the United Nations and the coalition of member states, led by the United States of America. On behalf of the United Nations, I express my gratitude to the multinational force and to the United States of America, under leadership of President Clinton. Operation Uphold Democracy has lived up to its name.
The fact that President Clinton has come to Haiti to mark this occasion is an expression of successful cooperation between the United States and the United Nations. And the fact that Operation Uphold Democracy today hands over the United Nations mission is Haiti, led by my special representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, is another expression of the successful cooperation between the United States and the United Nations.
According to Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, the world organization may authorize states or groups of states to act to maintain international peace and security. As the multinational force departs and the United Nations takes over, two factors remain vital: The people of Haiti must maintain their commitment to rebuild their society, and the members states of the United Nations must continue to support this revitalization of the multilateral idea.
The way ahead will not be easy, but cooperation brought success so far; continued cooperation will produce an enduring achievement. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT ARISTIDE: Once again, welcome, President Clinton. Welcome to all of you, friends of Haiti. (Speaks in French.)
The implementation of the Governors Island Agreement demonstrates that the world has taken heed to Dr. Martin Luther King's warning that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The engagement of the United Nations, supported by the courageous commitment of the people of Haiti, is a source of thought for all democracies.
United we will raise the banner of a state of law on the flag poles or reconciliation, justice, tolerance, respect and economic progress. United under this banner we will guarantee security and peace. United in this state of law, the new police force in training will take its rightful place. Recommendations made to reform our judicial system will be implemented. And plans to organize free, fair and democratic elections will succeed, as together we move from secure and stable, to safe and more secure.
To join us in this historic day, we welcome today the arrival of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, led by the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Brahimi, and the Military Commander of the UNMIH, General Kinzer. We welcome friends from America, from Africa, from Europe, from Latin America and from our sister nations of the Caribbean. (Speaks in French.)
END2:41 P.M. EST