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Statement by the Eminent Persons Group on its September Visit to Haiti

The Eminent Persons Group (EPG), comprising former Prime Ministers Dr Kenny D. Anthony of Saint Lucia, Bruce Golding of Jamaica and Perry Christie of The Bahamas, was encouraged by the positive steps made in previous meetings with the Haitian stakeholders in Jamaica in June and in Haiti in July and by the outcome of informal discussions among the stakeholders which had taken place in August to reduce differences as had been recommended by the Group.

The Group returned to Haiti on 4 September for a five-day visit with the intention of building on this political platform, fragile though it was, in order to make progress in the search for a sustainable solution to the long-standing political impasse.

The Group was, however, disappointed that the tone of the discussions had hardened and that the positions of some stakeholders had regressed significantly, reflected in the strident calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister. These developments coincided with the alarming deterioration of the security situation in Port-au-Prince in August and the deepening of the humanitarian crisis in the country.

In this impaired political environment, the agreed commencement of intensive mediation meetings with reduced groups of participants was delayed by the setting of conditions and non-compliance with the agreed limits on the number of persons to be present in a new phase of intensive mediation. Following intensive discussions, including one that brought together Prime Minister Henry, representatives of the December 21 Accord, the Joint Declaration of Kingston and civil society, an agreement was reached on the arrangements for the intensive mediation meetings to commence on 12 September. This phase of the negotiations will be facilitated initially by the EPG by videoconference and subsequently in person by the EPG should the stakeholders so request.

The EPG remains hopeful that with determination, goodwill and a recognition that the interests of the people of Haiti must be the overriding concern of all stakeholders, a solution can be found to restore Haiti on a path of constitutionalism and democracy.

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