Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Haiti

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Maria Salvador, for her briefing on the situation in Haiti. We welcome the participation of Prime Minister Garry Conille in today's meeting. His appointment as Head of Government was undoubtedly an important step towards strengthening Haitian government institutions. And we express our support for the efforts of the newly formed Cabinet and the Presidential Transitional Council when it comes to governing the country in this critical period, during which the key task is to prepare and hold national elections. We also welcome the participation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, Roberto Álvarez Gil.

We believe that the priorities for the transitional authorities should be the following. In addition to swiftly addressing the issue of holding presidential elections in accordance with the Haitian Constitution, the priorities should include restoring order in the country and establishing temporary administrative bodies. We do stress that any external interference in these processes is unacceptable.

Haitian political forces bear the primary responsibility for overcoming the crisis in their country, and the developments of the past three months have shown that when there is political will, the parties are able to overcome their disagreement and work together for the good of the country.

Nevethereless, despite progress on the political track, much remains to be done to address the situation on the ground. Armed groups continue to control 80 per cent of Port-au-Prince, including most of the strategically important transportation facilities, as well as the main entry and exit points of the capital.

Local gangs currently hold at least 500,000 units of firearms, including grenade launchers and sniper rifles. The leaders of these gangs are disseminating videos on different social networks showing how they are arming entire private armies "to the teeth".

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the main route for arms smuggling runs from Florida by water and small aircrafts. At the same time, we do not see the current embargo doing anything to prevent the flow of arms from the United States. Washington could have tackled the problem long ago, if it really wanted to. Instead, it seem that our United States colleagues prefer to use illegal arms shipments, on which US arms dealers make money, as leverage to influence the situation.

The SC Sanctions Committee 2653 is, however, backing down from using this sanctions tool to address the problem. We’ve received no proposals to list those who were behind this issue. As a result, the Committee's sanctions list currently consists of five individuals, namely the gang leaders. We have no objection to including representatives of the Haitian criminal world on the basis of credible and verifiable information. However, their activities are only a small fraction of the challenges facing the country. Moreover, most often these gangs have no property or accounts abroad, nor are they interested in traveling around the world, which is not the case with US arms dealers. However, the Committee's experts are clearly not eager to disagree with Washington.

Perhaps the situation could be changed by the forthcoming visit of the group of experts to Haiti this summer. We also expect that a full-fledged visit will be organized to Port-au-Prince for the delegation of the United Nations Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2653, when conditions allow. We also support the Special Representative's proposal to organize a mission by Security Council members to that country.

Certain hopes are pinned on the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti, whose initial contingents have already been deployed in the island. We praise the key outlines of the concept of the operation provided by Nairobi in June and expect further necessary information on the parameters for the use of force by the mission and its "exit strategy", as well as information regarding its financial and staffing policies.

We reiterate that the MSS should act in close coordination with the national security forces and in line with their priorities in order to gradually hand over to them the leading role in ensuring security in their country. We have been promised that past mistakes will not be repeated, and we will be closely monitoring how the Mission operates and is perceived by the public in Haiti.

In the current situation, we also see a potential for strengthening the role of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, whose mandate is due to expire in the middle of this month. The special political mission can and should play a greater role both in facilitating broader political dialogue and preparing for the elections, as well as in providing support to the Haitian police. At the same time, it is important for the United Nations to fully restore the level of its staffing provided for by its mandate in order to implement its priorities as effectively as possible.

Russia, as a responsible member of the UN Security Council, will continue providing assistance to the Haitian settlement process and supporting the international efforts necessary in this regard.

Video of the statement