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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06PORTAUPRINCE1051
2006-06-14 15:44:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  HA 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0036
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPU #1051/01 1651544
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141544Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3265
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1079
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0924
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUCOWCV/CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL//OLE/OI//
						C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 001051 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
DRL
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)
TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2011
TAGS: PGOV PREL HA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS

Classified By: Charge d'Affairs Jay T. Smith for reason 1.4 (b).

C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 001051

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
DRL
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)
TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2011
TAGS: PGOV PREL HA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS

Classified By: Charge d'Affairs Jay T. Smith for reason 1.4 (b).


1. (C) Summary. Prime Minister Alexis called the U.S-Haiti
relationship and USG assistance "indispensable" and asked for
a full briefing on all assistance programs at the earliest
opportunity during his first meeting with the Ambassador
since the ratification of his goernment on June 8. The
Ambassador reaffirmed US support for the Haiti, highlighting
our extensie assistance program, particularly in the area of
public health and education. The PM outlined his
government's priorities included strengthening th
parliament, reform of the police and justice setors, a
crackdown on corruption and narcotics trfficking,
reinvigoration of the agricultural secor, and "jobs, jobs,
jobs." He reiterated the Go's interest in Governor Jeb
Bush's idea to collet Haitian import duties at ports of
embarkation in Florida. The PM hoped to strengthen the role
of the parliament and deal with parliamentarians grouped by
geographical department, rather than along party lines. The
Ambassador urged the PM to vote for Guatemala in the upcoming
election for UN Security Council members. The PM assured the
Ambassador that he would raise the issue with President
Preval. Regarding imprisoned former-Prime Minister
Neptune, the PM agreed with the Ambassador's view that his
detention was unjustified, but did not indicate that his
government would pro-actively seek his release. End Summary.


2. (U) The Ambassador, accompanied by Polcouns, paid her
first formal call on PM Alexis since his ratification and
investiture. The Prime Minister introduced his newly-named
chief of staff, Antoine Ambroise who had held the same
position during the PM's previous tenure. Ambroise had just
returned from the University of Quebec to take up his
position. Ambroise's expertise lies in "state reform" and
administration and he planned to fucus on that area.

"Refine" Assistance
--------------



3. (SBU) The Ambassador congratulated the PM on the
approval of his government and general policy and affirmed
our ongoing commitment to Haiti's development. She
underlined that our assistance covered a broad range of
areas, totaling $148 million last year. She lamented that
many Haitians, even in the government, were not aware of the
scope of U.S. assistance. The interim health minister, for
instance was not aware that the USG had provided 40% of
health services the previous year until the Ambassador
informed him. The PM agreed that the U.S.-Haitian
cooperation would remain critical and asked for a
presentation of all our assistance programs. His government,
he stressed, needed a complete understanding of all
international assistance to "refine its effectiveness," look
at the "whole picture" and integrate aid into the budget
process. He understood that international donors provided
the bulk of direct assistance through NGOs and he wanted to
better integrate that assistance through the government.
NGOs should continue to play a key role in delivering
assistance, but the government needed to insure, for example,
that the assistance was appropriately distributed
geographically throughout the country. The Ambassador agreed
to organize a briefing -- the Embassy had provided a similar
briefing to members of Preval's transition team prior to his
inauguration -- and noted that we would continue to provide
our assistance on a programmatic basis.

Lots of Priorities
--------------


4. (SBU) The PM stressed that fighting corruption, narcotics
trafficking and government malfeasance were among the
government's top priorities. He would cooperate closely with
presidential advisor Robert Manuel, who would continue to
maintain responsibility for security and justice issues in
the presidency. He was also optimistic about the new Justice
Minister Rene Magloire, who had extensive experience in
anti-corruption and anti-drug issues. The key to social
stability was economic stability, and the government would
also focus on, "jobs, jobs, jobs" The government had
proposed its "social appeasement" program precisely to tackle
the link between stability and economic conditions.
Additionally, the government would focus on improving
agricultural production and the conditions of farm laborers
and improving vocational and professional education. The
list of needs in Haiti was exhaustive, and there was no
"magic wand" (baguette magique) he could wave.


5. (SBU) The PM noted that Governor Bush had raised with
President Preval during visit for Preval's inauguration the
possibility of organizing the collection of Haitian customs
duties in ports of embarkation in Florida. President Preval
wanted to examine the idea and asked the PM to follow-up.
The PM stressed that Haiti desperately needed to increase
revenue collection and that it was losing significant amounts
through corruption in the customs system. The Ambassador
offered to arrange for further information to be provided to
President Preval during his upcoming visit to the tourism
convention in Miami at the end of June.

Parliament
--------------


5. (SBU) Replying to the Ambassador's query regarding
relations with parliament, the PM responded that parliament's
role must be strengthened and that the government had
appointed a minister for parliamentary relations toward that
end. The parliament needed better working conditions and
technical capabilities: the PM had organized a technical
seminar for his cabinet and would try to do the same for the
parliamentarians. The government would also work to improve
the consultative process with parliament in drafting
legislation. Parliament needed to be involved in legislating
rather than simply voting on government's proposed laws. He
planned to initiate regular consultations with the
departmental delegations within the parliament. This would
give each senator and deputy access to the executive and
avoid the issue of showing favoritism to individual parties.

Neptune
--------------


6. (C) The PM noted that he expected a decision by the
appellate court in Gonaives regarding former Prime Minister
Neptune and the other defendants in the case of the alleged
La Scyrie massacre. The Prime Minister said he took no
position on the case but that Neptune had been in prison for
far too long for no good reason. The Ambassador responded
that this was precisely the position of the U.S. and she
hoped that the GoH would quickly release Neptune.

UN Security Council Seat
--------------


7. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to raise the
upcoming vote for the Security Council. She explained that
the United States supported Guatemala for the open seat
slotted for the region. The Security Council faced an
enormously important agenda and it was critical to have
responsible members. She recognized that Haiti and Venezuela
had an important relationship but noted that Guatemala was a
member of MINUSTAH and also an important partner. The PM
agreed that Haiti had important ties with both countries and
assured the Ambassador he would discuss the issue with
President Preval, who he understood would retain the final
decision on critical foreign policy issues.


8. (C) Comment. The atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive
during this first formal meeting between the Ambassador and
the PM. The PM was engaging and business-like, demonstrating
a command of issues and how he intends to proceed. The PM
displayed a hint of sensitivity in discussing the need to
exercise more control over the provision of international
assistance, but also demonstrated appreciation and
willingness to engage and cooperate. The PM did not respond
to the Ambassador's pointed remark that she hoped the
government would free Neptune. Based on this and other
conversations with Preval, it is clear that the Preval
administration hopes that somebody else, namely the judges
hearing the case, will solve the problem for them.

SMITH