QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary of State, thank you for answering my questions. Several political parties and organizations have accused the U.S. Government of exerting unfair pressure on Haiti on government and electoral council to (inaudible) the OAS recommendations. And as a matter of fact, some visas have been revocated, and there will be also (inaudible) to cut aid to the country. What is your reaction to those accusations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s regrettable that for political purposes anyone would make such accusations. I’m here to show solidarity with the Haitian people, to reaffirm our commitment to Haiti’s reconstruction and development, and to speak out for the right of Haitians to have their voices and their votes heard and respected.
I think the post-election crisis that must be resolved in order for Haiti to move forward is a decision that must be left to the Haitian people. But the Haitian Government asked the OAS, an independent group, to bring technical experts to Haiti to analyze the vote. And they made their recommendations, which we and the entire international community – Canada, Brazil, France, the United Nations, the European Union – everyone who looked at it agrees with the soundness of the OAS.
So I would hope that the efforts by the international community to help Haiti’s democracy develop and to help Haiti deal with the challenges of the earthquake and poverty would be viewed as an effort genuinely to give a better life to the people of Haiti.
With respect to the visa issue, I cannot comment on any individual visa. But I can say that when credible information is presented about a person’s connection with their home country or information about violence or fraud or other matters of concern, there are legal requirements that have to be followed in our country.
QUESTION: Secretary of State, you have met (inaudible) elections. What came out of the meeting? Can people expect a quick resolution (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I wanted to meet with the three leading candidates to hear for myself what they thought was the best way forward. Again, this is a decision that must be made by Haitians, not by the international community. But I do think it’s important that whatever decision is made reflect the will of the majority of Haitian voters. And we are hoping that that will be the decision.
QUESTION: President Preval has announced that he will not leave office on February 7 as it is prescribed by the constitution but will remain in office until May 14. In light of this, what is the U.S. position in regard to this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the United States is advised by Haitian experts that there are certain requirements in the constitution. But decisions, according to the law and constitution of Haiti, must be left up to Haitians to decide. What is important is that there be a peaceful, orderly transition from President Preval to whomever is the next president. The Haitian people deserve that. They need a new president to be chosen so that the work can continue.
QUESTION: How does the U.S. react to the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier, and your reaction to the possibility of Aristide’s return to Haiti?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we don’t know why President Duvalier came back. We know that the people of Haiti have outstanding grievances that may require action in the courts of law, but that is up to Haiti. We want to support what the Haitian Government and the people decide to do. And I don’t know what, if any, plans President Aristide has.
QUESTION: Last question?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Okay. At the highest level, three former U.S. presidents have engaged in reconstruction aid for Haiti. What has become of this commitment?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the commitment is very strong. And I can speak for my husband; he is absolutely committed. The last time he was here, about two weeks ago, he announced projects that could employ 20,000 Haitians or more. But there needs to be a government and there needs to be stability in that government for a former president, for the international community, to really be a good partner, which is why we hope that there will be a resolution of the election soon.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. It’s good to talk to you.
Interview With Rothchild Francois Jr. of RFM
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
January 30, 2011
QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, I’m very glad to have you as a – to have an interview with you today it’s a very important day for Haiti. So what is the purpose of your mission in Haiti?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m here just a little over a year from the earthquake to express our continuing support for the Haitian people, for reconstruction and redevelopment, for humanitarian assistance, and to show solidarity with the Haitian people as we go forward into the future.
I’m also here to urge that the voices and the votes of the Haitian people be heard and respected. I know that Haiti is on the brink of moving forward in the electoral process, and we support the OAS recommendations. We would like to see Haiti resolve their election and install a new president so that we can begin the hard work that still lies ahead.
QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, regarding the reconstruction, how do you see the situation in Haiti? We got, like, more than one million people still living in the tents. So how do you judge the situation one year later?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there has been progress, but not nearly enough. We have an enormous amount of work to do together. And although everyone is working, I think we know that it’s not just rebuilding structures. We want to do better. We want to have a better education system and healthcare system. We want more economic opportunity.
My husband and I feel very personally committed to Haiti. President Obama is very committed to Haiti. So we want to take what has already been done and make it a model, not just for Haiti’s future but for the world.
For example, if I could give you just one statistic, in a year, more rubble has been removed from Haiti than was removed after the tsunami in Indonesia. It is hard when you’re living in the midst of a tent city, when your home has been destroyed and your children are still not regularly going to school, or when the job you had has not come back, to have any perspective. I understand that. So we are here to reassert our commitment. We are impatient; we are determined to work with the people of Haiti to accelerate the progress.
QUESTION: Regarding the political (inaudible) in Haiti right now, you just have a meeting with Michel Martelly, Mrs. Manigat and Jude Celestin. So what kind of message do you send to these leaders in Haiti?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Our message is very simple: We support the votes of the Haitian people and believe they should be respected. We support the OAS recommendations, which reflect the best analysis possible about the intentions of the Haitian people when they voted. But the decision is up to the government and people of Haiti. We would like to see the election go forward into a second round and a resolution so that there can be an orderly transfer of authority and a new president can get to work.
SECRETARY CLINTON: As soon as it can be done. I know that these matters take time. And I met with a group of civil society experts, including election experts, and they’re concerned about making sure that in the next round there are enough observers, there’s enough information for voters so they know where to go to cast their vote.
We will work to help that be accomplished, but the important task now is to set out the schedule and make sure that we hold a free and fair second round.
QUESTION: For the end, Mrs. Clinton, do you have a message for the Haitian population? It’s been waiting a long time for development, democracy, and (inaudible) in Haiti. So do you have a message for Haitian population?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I think that the people of Haiti have proven themselves over the course of your history as courageous, resilient, determined people against great odds. Do not give up. Democracy is worth investing in. It must deliver results for the people, and the United States will stand with you. We know how hard this is, and we admire your courage.
QUESTION: Once again, thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
Interview With Gerin Alexandre of Caraibes FM
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
January 30, 2011
QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, what was the purpose of your visit in Haiti?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am here to express our continuing support for the Haitian people, to show solidarity on behalf of the many challenges that still confront Haiti, and to speak out to ensure that the voices and votes of the Haitian people are heard and respected.
QUESTION: But Mrs. Clinton, this visit come in a different situation with the post-electoral crisis in Haiti and you met with three of the principal candidates. What did you discuss?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I met with the three principal candidates to hear their point of view. The United States does not support or oppose any candidate. We support the Haitian people, and we want to see this post-election crisis resolved in a way that respects the votes of the Haitian people and moves toward a new president.
QUESTION: But (inaudible) U.S. Administration support the report of the OAS?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, we do. We support the report and recommendations of the OAS along with the international community. And I’ve just met with six leaders of the private sector and civil society in Haiti, who told me that they also did reports which are the same as the recommendations of the OAS. So there is support for the OAS and there is support within Haiti for the results of the OAS study.
QUESTION: It seems – it look like – we don’t understand, why do electoral (inaudible) publish the schedule for a second (inaudible) just two days before coming here?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t have any idea. I don’t know why they – they would have published it, but it’s been two months and there does need to be a decision about moving forward. And there is a date set for the election, which hopefully will be met so that the people can express their opinions by their votes.
QUESTION: Yes, you’re talking about respect for (inaudible). Next week, there will be very (inaudible) and reasonable (inaudible) to go as some politicians, some political (inaudible) as for that, what (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is up to the Haitian people. As I understand the situation, there is a constitutional requirement for the date of February 7th. How that is interpreted and what the president and the people of Haiti decide is up to them. But it is important that the election go forward so there can be a new president. There is so much work to be done in Haiti, and the international community stands ready to help. But we have to get through this election system in order to know who will be Haiti’s president to be able to work with that person.
QUESTION: And (inaudible) American administration think about the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We don’t know why he came back, but he has no reason that he has provided. But the people of Haiti and your government have made it clear that he must answer to the problems of the time when he was president. And I think that is appropriate.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) must be made with two candidates, and you met three. Why?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we know that the top two candidates, according to the OAS report, have a great deal of support together. But we know that the third candidate is claiming that he should be the second candidate. So I did not want to in any way be accused of not meeting with all three. But we support the OAS recommendations and we would like to see them move forward, because we think that’s the best way to respect the votes of the Haitian people.
Ultimately, this is not a decision for the United States. This is a decision for Haiti. We are just, as your friend, urging that this decision be made in the most constitutional way that respects what the people of Haiti voted for.
QUESTION: My last question. Have you already met with (inaudible) Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive and (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I will be seeing them later this evening.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Nice to see you.