France puts Haiti on its priority development assistance list
Haiti – Bilateral relations/Syria - Press conference by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (excerpts)
Port-au-Prince, 20 December 2016
Yesterday evening, as soon as I arrived, I met President Privert. We had a very warm meeting. And first of all I congratulated him on creating the conditions for a free, inclusive, transparent electoral process conducted from start to finish by the Haitian authorities alone. The international community helped, of course, it played its role, but this success belongs to Haitians.
Clearly, the process isn’t yet entirely over: we’re still waiting for the definitive results from the Electoral Council. So out of respect for its work, for Haiti’s sovereignty, for the Haitian citizens who cast their votes, I won’t comment on the preliminary results. France has taken note of them. It’s up to the Haitian authorities, fully independently, to name the winners; it’s also up to all the players on Haiti’s political stage to comply with electoral law. In a democracy, no challenge must be made through violence.
I also came to tell President Privert, his government and everyone here that whatever the results, France will remain at the Haitian people’s side. As pledged by the French President, who came here in the spring of 2015, France would like to continue its balanced partnership with Haiti. Your country’s development can be sustainable only if we carry out future projects together in priority sectors such as education, health and agriculture.
This is why the French government has taken an important decision in the past few days: to include Haiti on the list of priority countries for our official development assistance. The list isn’t long: it has only 17 countries out of nearly 200 worldwide. Haiti is now one of these 17, which shows how close it is to our hearts. The decision will allow us to implement projects for supporting Haiti’s long-term development, strengthening its independence and sovereignty and addressing the priorities decided by the Haitian authorities.
This very important decision was also taken with a desire to increase French development assistance. The French Development Agency, whose director accompanied me during that visit, has just celebrated its 75th birthday and is going to have much greater resources at its disposal than in the past. Direct, bilateral assistance is also going to be significantly stepped up and European assistance – to which France makes a huge contribution, since it is one of the leading financers – is also going to help implement all these projects. (…)./.