New UN head in Haiti to work with Martelly on pressing challenges

14:46, May 19, 2011      

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Strengthening of political institutions and social-economic development are two major challenges in Haiti and the United Nations will work closely with new Haitian President Michel Martelly to address these issues, the new UN head in the Caribbean nation said on Wednesday.

Mariano Fernandez, who on Tuesday was appointed new chief of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah), told Xinhua in an interview that the UN "will center our task of collaborating in the institutionalization of the country" which has been plagued by political instability in the past.

"There is a new President, Michel Martelly, with whom we expect to work together. The stability of the country is a fundamental task, a requirement before all other issues," said Fernandez.

He said firm steps toward a sustainable economic development of Haiti are "urgently needed" and one such step is the renewed attempt to normalize the institutionalism in Haiti, as Martelly has said he will work on.

The second major challenge is to achieve viable economic and social development, where the international community can participate," Fernandez said, adding it is important that the development targets are "kept on track."

Martelly was officially inaugurated as Haiti's new president on Saturday. Shortly after the ceremony he said one of his main tasks will be to accelerate the reconstruction of the country from the earthquake in January 2010 which killed at least 250,000 people and left about 1.5 million homeless in the poorest country in the Americas.

"The reconstruction work after the earthquake represents a series of urgent problems which have to be approached and where the international community can contribute in a substantive way," said Fernandez.

He also stressed the importance of Latin American countries' presence in Haiti as part of the UN peace troops.

"For what I have been able to see there is a commitment to keep this compromise with Haiti. Chile just approved an extension by one year of its presence (in Haiti)" and other South American countries have made similar pledges, he said.

Fernandez said he was hopeful that Haiti is now entering a new stage in its history.

"There is a moment of hope. Latin America has been doing well recently, it has gained stability and development, and it is time for Haiti to join this," he said. Fernandez will officially take over his new position during the second week of June 2011.

Source: Xinhua
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