Top UN envoy to Haiti welcomes national dialogue after elections

After updating the Security Council on the election process in Haiti, the United Nations top envoy to that country welcomed President-elect René Préval’s invitation for Haitians to join together in a national dialogue.“We believe that dialogue and reconciliation are the concepts to be applied today in Haiti, and we also expect that his dialogues with the private sector he announced for tomorrow will also be fruitful,” said Juan Gabriel Valdés, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Haiti.Besides supporting such national dialogue, Mr. Valdés said that upcoming priorities for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) – now that its mandate has been renewed – include the professionalization of the police force, so that it is able to confront the security situation in the Cite Soleil, the gang-ridden inner-city neighbourhood of the capital Port-au-Prince.Along with security measures, he said it was also necessary to create with the Government a common approach for social development of the area.Applauding the Haitian people for their patience and continuing commitment to democracy, both the Security Council and Secretary-General Annan last week congratulated Mr. Préval on his election victory after a tumultuous week of vote counting.Today, Mr. Valdés said that preliminary vote counts for parliamentary elections should be finished by today or tomorrow, but no doubt a second round of ballots would be needed as many leading candidates would not have the requisite majority to win on the first round. read more