Remarks with Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 17, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. My great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Haiti Evans Paul, and I look forward to a conversation with him about the days ahead, which are very critical for Haiti.

Do we have translation? No. No translation here.

I remember, because I was in Boston and serving in the Senate, when the terrible earthquake hit Haiti. And we lost the life of a beautiful young woman from Massachusetts, who was working down there. We committed, all of us, to make an extraordinary effort to help Haiti come back.

The United States has provided more than $4.2 billion, and we’ve been deeply involved in the economic revitalization, the rebuilding, the post-earthquake development. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, the politics have stymied some of that process. And it is imperative for the elections that will take place in October to be successful to be able to restore the ability, to be able to continue the momentum, because we have major issues to continue to work on together.

So I look forward to talking to the prime minister and laying out our cooperative agenda over the course of the next months, and then, of course, well beyond that. We have economic development, health development, education, and major challenges which we need to address. So Mr. Prime Minister, (in French), and I look forward to our conversation. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER PAUL: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. I am delighted to be hosted by the Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry. I have come as prime minister of Haiti as part of the friendly, cordial, historical relations that have always existed between our two countries, the U.S. and Haiti.

I am prime minister in the context where my main task is to create favorable conditions to organize inclusive, critical elections. We had a first round of elections on August 9th, which took place with some problems. We’re aware of those problems, and we are committed to commit to correct these problems in October during the second round, as well as the first round of the presidential election.

What’s most important for us in the government is, first of all, to tell you thank you, the United States, because you have always contributed. You have contributed to allow us to have the economic assets to organize these elections. But we ask you to continue to support us in terms of outreach, awareness of the national – international audience.

We have only one goal, only one option – namely, to organize elections to ensure that Haiti can continue on the path of democratic change. What we want and we have decided is that next year, 2016, in January we’ll have a democratically elected parliament, and on February 7, we will have a newly democratically elected president. That’s what we want and that’s what we hope our partners, such as the United States, will be there to support us in order to allow Haiti to create the enabling conditions for the development of its people.

Thank you.