JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE, LAURENT LAMOTHE - ALAIN JUPPE
(Haiti Libre) -
Yesterday Tuesday (Jan. 24), Laurent Lamothe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as part of his official visit of economic exploration to France, met with Alain Juppé, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France. This meeting was followed by a joint press conference where the two chancellors spoke.
Speech of Alain Juppé :
" Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome Mr. Laurent Lamothe, the Foreign Minister of Haiti. I told him how France has been attached to relations with his country for as you know, historical, political, economic and cultural reasons.
I am very happy at the end of this meeting to see that things are progressing, and that they are making good progress in Haiti. Political stability is confirmed and reinforced, the reconstruction of the economy, devastated by the earthquake is also progressing.
France is committed, through its bilateral aid, through the assistance of the French Development Agency [AFD]. We are quite determined to continue in this way and provide particular support in terms of training, given the priorities which are those of Haiti.
I think it's important; I have noted that it was the desire of the Haitian authorities, that private investment moves back to Haiti.
The political context, the country's stability are likely, I think, to attract our investors and of course we encourage them.
The minister met yesterday with my colleague Pierre Lellouche. He will also meet [Wednesday] the leaders of MEDEF. There is a successful collaboration. I am glad, finally, that the discussion I had with President Martelly about adoption procedures allows us today to consider the total unblocking of the situation.
That, Mr. Minister, is what I wanted to tell you by ensuring you of our support, while wishing you a very good opportunity for this coming year."
Speech of Laurent Lamothe :
"Thank you Mr. Minister,
Haiti is very honored to be here today. We intend to continue the excellent cooperation that we have with France. France is a preferred partner for Haiti, and we thank you for the help, assistance and the cooperation that you have given us after the quake [...] We are grateful to President Sarkozy, because he is the first French President who has visited Haiti in 208 years. We thank the French Foreign Minister, who visited Haiti for the swearing in of President Martelly.
Haiti is doing better today. We still have problems, and we are working on these problems to manage them. However, the emergency period after January 12, 2010, is completed. We need to work for a sustainable development of our economy by attracting private investment; that's why I'm here. I have already met with several Heads of French companies. Tomorrow [Wednesday] I will be at the MEDEF [Movement of Enterprises in France], to talk to business leaders, to show the opportunities offered by Haiti in infrastructure, roads, airports and also to ensure that France should be present. We asked that COFACE [French Insurance Company for Foreign Trade] enter back into Haiti, that PROPARCO [Promotion and Participation for Economic Cooperation] be more present.
In general, we want a commitment from the French private sector, because Haiti needs massive private direct investment. We want to continue as one with the cooperation and we thank the French Development Agency, we thank the Government and we want to continue this. Haiti needs private direct investment and Haiti has many opportunities to offer".
A journalist asked the Chancellor Lamothe; "You have met many French investors, are there some who are interested, very interested even, to establish themselves in Haiti?"
Chancellor Lamothe answered that he already had several fruitful meetings, without providing more details. "We met with Veolia today. It was a very good meeting, and it is a great group that can bring a lot to Haiti. There are several meetings scheduled tomorrow with the MEDEF and we think that there are many opportunities, because the Haitian market represents double of the CARICOM market, [...] The Dominican Republic has a lot of French investments, and we would like that Haiti also has investments; and so far the response is very positive.
I think that for an investor throughtout the world there are always constraints. [...] Today in Haiti the security situation is much better [...] the security situation in Haiti is not a problem for investment. To come make the roads, build airports, bridges, hotels, I think the French expertise is there, the experience is there, and we are a growing market [...]"
Another journalist asked Minister Lamothe, "as part of the rehabilitation of the army do you envisage seeking assistance from France; if yes how?"
"Haiti wants to take control of its security services. We now have a situation in Haiti where there is a UN force that provides security; but this force will not be in Haiti forever, so we are looking to our partners for the assurance of a technical assistance to the design, and the formation of a new force primarily to protect the economy. Haiti loses $320 million today because of smuggling on the Haitiano-Dominican border; so we requested assistance, a technical assistance for training of this force.... to protect the economy."
For his part Alain Juppé added, "I confirm that France has responded positively. We are ready to assist Haiti in terms of training for this Security Force. We have in this area a good expertise, and the Minister told me that the issue of customs was a particular concern for him. This is a point on which we will assist Haiti."