Remarks at the Signing of Two Memoranda of Understanding Regarding Haiti Recovery Projects

Hillary Rodham Clinton
   Secretary of State
Cheryl Mills
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
New York City
September 20, 2010

MS. MILLS: Well, welcome. Welcome, everyone. We appreciate you all being here this afternoon as we are celebrating on behalf of the Government of Haiti the signing of two memorandums that we will be doing today, so we ask that everybody stay through both memorandas. My name is Cheryl Mills. I am the Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton, and I have the honor of serving on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. And on behalf of the Government of Haiti, we are happy to host this event.


At the podium today – and they will all be signing the first memorandum, and the first memorandum is commemorating the partnership with the Government of Haiti to invest in an industrial park in the Port-au-Prince region. We are looking forward to the signing, and here with us today we have Prime Minister Bellerive on behalf of the Government of Haiti; we have Secretary Clinton on behalf of the United States Government; we have Luis Moreno, on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank; we have Lars Thunell, who is the executive vice president and CEO of the International Finance Corporation, which is the investment arm of the World Bank; and we also have the managing director from the World Bank here, Sri Indrawati. She is managing director and we’re grateful for her presence. She is also the former finance minister of Indonesia.


And last but not least, and indeed most importantly, we have Chairman Kim from Sae-A Trading, who has flown in just today from Korea to be a part of the signing of a partnership on behalf of an international and industrial park in the Port-au-Prince region. And we are very much looking forward to this partnership and what it will mean for jobs and economic development and growth for the people of Haiti.


If you all will now sign.


PARTICIPANT: I’ll sign. (Laughter.)


PARTICIPANT: The best part.




(The Memorandum of Understanding was signed.)


MS. MILLS: Thank you all very much. We are grateful for the signing and we are looking forward to the opportunity to see up to 18,000 jobs that potentially will come to the country of Haiti through the work that Sae-A is going to be doing in Haiti, as well as through other partners who will be coming to work in an industrial park. We are going to use this as an opportunity to let you all say a few words to each other, and then we are going to preset for the next signing. Thank you all. (Applause.)


PRIME MINISTER BELLERIVE: So don’t worry, I will be very, very short. I just want to thank everybody that was involved – were involved in that signature. It’s a great day for Haiti today. All the public (inaudible) that we are requesting for our partners, it’s aimed at only that – creating jobs in Haiti, creating the conditions to create more jobs in Haiti. And I really want to thank first the U.S. State Department that were fantastic in helping us consolidate that signature today. I want to thank all the partners at the IDB, (inaudible) and mainly Chairman Kim that came several time in Haiti to personally see how he can create a job, how he can take advantage of the (inaudible) legislations.


And really, the Haitian people, we are very grateful from that decision that you took, and we are sure that you’re not going to regret it and that the other one that are in line, looking at what you’re going to do, are going to run in Haiti to invest also and to create job and to create wealth for them and for the Haitian people.


So, thank you, everybody, for that marvelous moment. I believe that what you are doing since we tried to coordinate all the help after the earthquake is one of the first great news that we have today, after the announcements. But we need private investment in Haiti to get out of the situation that we are today. Thank you so much.




MS. MILLS: It is my pleasure to announce the signing of the second memorandum today on behalf of the Government of Haiti, which is a memorandum that is commemorating the partnership with the Government of Haiti, the United States, and France in the rebuilding of the General Hospital at the – I mean, the General University Hospital in Port-au-Prince. And so our partners here today: representing the United States is Secretary Clinton; representing the Government of Haiti is Prime Minister Bellerive; and representing France is Foreign Minister Kouchner.


And so if you all would kindly sign, and then if you would like to say a few words, we would ask the prime minister and then the Secretary and the foreign minister too.


(The Memorandum of Understanding was signed.)


MS. MILLS: So thank you all for committing up to $50 million on behalf of this investment in Haiti and on behalf of the people of Haiti, and I’d like to invite the prime minister first to say a few remarks if he’d like.


PRIME MINISTER BELLERIVE: I’ll just say it was a great day for Haiti, creating new jobs. But it’s also a great day when we see the coordination and cooperation between the partners of Haiti are working together to support the Haitian plan. And it’s what we have done today, a cooperation towards something essential for Haiti health. And I thank really France and the United States to support so clearly the Haitian plan to support, to give more health, to the Haitians.


Thank you, again.


MS. MILLS: Why don’t I ask – Foreign Minister Kouchner?


FOREIGN MINISTER KOUCHNER: (Inaudible.) Thank you for speaking English. (Laughter.) This is a place where they are all speaking French but one. (Laughter.) Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.


(Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to say how happy I am to be able to sign this document between Madam Clinton and the prime minister. I would like to say two things. First of all, after this terrible catastrophe in Haiti, a lot of effort has been done, and a lot of effort called action plan that must be coordinated. Without coordination we’ll be very disappointed with the results, so it is an excellent idea to have this cooperation among the three of us for the University Hospital. It’s a training and teaching hospital as well.


The second thing I wanted to mention here is that you – some of you say that the building of this hospital is very slow going on in Haiti and how come with so much money poured into Haiti there’s no visible progress? Those who do not know the extent of the disaster, the size of the disaster, and the need to exchange lots of ideas, to think, to talk about city planning, to talk about renewing everything, to adopt a new model of development – not the old one. New structures are being proposed. That’s what the minister has been doing and that’s what President Preval does too. And also, all that takes time. Yes, a lot of effort has been made, a lot of money poured into Haiti, but this cannot – the results cannot be visible immediately.


And I also wanted to say something about public health, but public health is not a vague notion; it’s a very clear idea. It’s an idea – a general idea, and then a political idea – public health. And this will allow either to prevent or treat disease for every and each Haitian through this University Hospital, and I’m very happy to be able to work with Mrs. Clinton on this. But there will be something lacking in this hospital, although we have decided that the structure and the materials necessary and the functioning of the hospital would be taken care of by others.


What we need is a public health plan and health insurance, because what makes a hospital work well is that the poor have access to the hospital. That’s the important thing. And if not – if all Haitians do not have access to this hospital, the hospital will not be working well. So we need to work, and the prime minister knows it. We may work about access to care; in other words, creating health insurance. And I’m very happy that we have started working together here, and that this wonderful hospital that we’re going to build will tend to every Haitian in the country – the big ones and the small ones too.


Thank you very much.




SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s always a pleasure to be here with my colleagues, Dr. Kouchner and Prime Minister Bellerive. And in a few minutes, there will be a special session of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission that will be meeting to take the measure of the progress that has been made in Haiti since the earthquake and to renew our own commitment to the hard work that lies ahead that Minister Kouchner just referred to.


In the wake of the terrible quake, many spoke about the need, not only to rebuild what was lost, but to fundamentally re-imagine the Haitian landscape by building a stronger economy, better infrastructure, and a sturdier social system, not just in Port-au-Prince but nationwide.


And the two MOUs that have been signed today will support that effort. They will encourage progress in two areas that are key to Haiti’s long-term recovery: creating jobs and providing a foundation for rebuilding the country’s health system.


The first Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Haiti, the United States Government, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and Sae-A Trading Company, is designed to establish an industrial park and a garment manufacturing operation in Haiti with the potential to create more than 10,000 permanent jobs. And these are not just any jobs; these are good jobs with fair pay that adhere to international labor standards. And the impact on Haiti’s economy has enormous potential for being significant and sending a message that Haiti is open for business again.


And we look forward to working with our partners in the private sector to leverage capital and create these jobs, and with them, the better lives that Haitians are seeking for themselves and their families.


The second Memorandum of Understanding, which the prime minister, the foreign minister, and I just signed on behalf of the U.S., French, and Haitian Governments, commits us each to help rebuild the University Hospital of Haiti. This hospital is the central public hospital for Port-au-Prince and it is the country’s main teaching hospital.


Since January 12th, it has been serving thousands of people, even though it is crippled by physical damage, limited equipment, limited electrical and other critical services. The United States and France will each invest $25 million to rebuild this hospital, to create a facility that meets the needs of the Haitian people, and the Haitian Government will contribute $3.2 million in funding.


This work is important and there is no time to waste. As we saw on the front page of the New York Times today, people are suffering. They need jobs, they need health care, they need us – their own government and the international community – to follow through on our promises and translate our good intentions to real concrete progress on the ground.


I’m looking forward to the upcoming session of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. It is very important to keep in mind what both the prime minister and the foreign minister said, that the extent of the devastation was enormous, and those who expect progress immediately are unrealistic and doing a disservice to the many people who are working so hard. But to expect less than concerted effort every day that produces results would be a great tragedy.


So we will work hard with all of you, and we especially thank our private sector partners and the financing teams that have put together the first memorandum. And we look forward to seeing the progress that can come with the second memorandum in a tangible demonstration of our commitment to the Haitian people.


So thank you very much, Prime Minister, and thank you my friend, and to all of you who helped make this day possible.


Thank you.




MS. MILLS: Thank you all very much. The meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission will start shortly. We appreciate everyone being here.

PRN: 2010/1298