Thursday, July 15, 2010

France Unveils Bastille Day Framework Initiative for Haiti’s Reconstruction

France is repaying the historic debt of 90 million gold francs Haiti paid to France following the former's independence at the dawn of the 19th century.
July 14 2010


(PARIS, JULY 14, 2010)

France Unveils Bastille Day Framework Initiative for Haiti's Reconstruction

Ever since Haiti was ravaged by the devastating earthquake of January 12,
France has called for international debt forgiveness for Haiti.

For too long, Haiti has been saddled with the burden of foreign debt. Her
development crippled by foreign debt service payments, she has for too long
staggered from catastrophe to catastrophe. The disaster that has befallen the
Haitian people is clearly not merely the result of January's eathquake. It is
in part the result of long-term economic and social policies.

If a clean break from this disastrous cycle is to be made in the current
reconstruction efforts, it will require bold action not just from Haitians but
also from creditor nations and international financial institutions.

Today, I am pleased to announce our boldest initiative yet to free up the funds
that will be so essential for Haitians to rebuild their country after the
devastation of the earthquake.

The French Republic and Haiti share deep ties of history, language and culture.
Bastille Day is a perfect occasion to celebrate the cherished values of our
republic--values that were also a beacon to the Haitian people when they cast
off the shackles of slavery, and founded the second republic of the Americas.

In the context of our national holiday, we are thus announcing the dawn of a
new era of cooperation between France and Haiti—a partnership based firmly in
these shared values. Whereas our nations' relations were, historically, at
times tumultuous, today we start with a clean slate united by compassion and

Under the Framework Initiative for Haiti's Reconstruction, unveiled today by
the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, France is repaying the historic
debt of 90 million gold francs Haiti paid to France following the former's
independence at the dawn of the 19th century.

Some will say the current context of the global financial crisis is no time for
such an ambitious initiative. Yet it is precisely in such times of crisis,
particularly as we work to rebuild the global financial system, that our
deepest-held values are most important. « Liberty, equality and fraternity »
: these must be the pillars of the new global financial architecture if we want
to assure that—this time around—Haitians too can share in economic development.

The French government is proud to announce our new Framework Initiative, and we
encourage other governments to follow in our example, and take responsibility
and action to correct the mistakes of the past in this hour of Haiti's greatest need.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is working side-by-side with the
Haitian government and local civil society sector in facilitating plans for the
transfer of the required funds. At a domestic level, the Ministry of Foreign
and European Affairs is working with the Central Bank of France, with
advisement from the OECD, IMF and European Central Bank to prepare a long term
budgetary plan. The Ministry is also working concurrently and liaising closely
with the Overseas secretary as well as our Eurozone partners.

Under the new framework, the 90 million gold francs, which Haiti paid France
from 1825 until 1947, will be reimbursed in a yearly budget over the course of
50 years. Economic advisors working with the Ministry have calculated that the
total sum amounts to € 17 billion including adjustments for inflation and a
minimal interest rate of 5 percent per annum.

A total budget of €2 million will be released by the end of the month.
Minister Bernard Kouchner will be available for further comment after the
celebration of the national holiday.


Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
HLLN Campaign Seven - Demand France Pay back the $22 Billion Independence Debt:
France Vertieres and Ayisyen Ginen



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