Statement by Mr. Maxwell Keegel, Acting Permanent
Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly
on the situation in Haiti – 22.1.2010
Secretary-General of the United Nations
My delegation wishes to express its appreciation to Brazil for initiating this Resolution on “Humanitarian Assistance for Haiti” which we have unanimously adopted today and we are pleased to have joined the list of co sponsors. We also thank the Secretary-General and the Permanent Representative of Haiti for updating us today on the relief efforts.
Sri Lanka wishes to join other members of this Assembly in conveying once again our deepest condolences to the Government and people of Haiti on the tragic loss of life and property following the devastating earthquake. The President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his message of condolence to the President of Haiti, stated and I quote “the wish of all Sri Lankans is that the people of Haiti will surely find the strength to overcome this tragedy and rebuild their country”. As a country that faced a similar natural disaster 5 years ago, we are able to fully empathize with their suffering. We once again avail ourselves of this opportunity to convey to the Government and people of Haiti assurances of our support and solidarity at this time of great sorrow. We have no doubt that with the support of the international community and with its own national efforts the Government of Haiti will be able to commence rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the near future.
Sri Lanka was fortunate not to have lost any of our 979 UN peacekeepers in Haiti who are part of the MINUSTAH Contingent. We are extremely heartened also to hear that our peacekeepers have been playing a crucial role since the day of the tragedy in saving lives by taking a lead role in search and rescue operations as well as in distribution of food and water in areas worst affected by the disaster.
As a token of our support and solidarity, the Government of Sri Lanka has granted a cash donation of US$ 25,000 to the Government of Haiti and will also send a consignment of Tea. We will continue to extend our support to the Government and people of Haiti in whatever way possible and also support the work of the United Nations as a contributor to the budget of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
We also convey our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his leadership in ensuring emergency relief assistance reaches the victims of the disaster in a timely manner and for coordinating international support for the long term reconstruction and rehabilitation work in Haiti. We wish to convey through you, Mr. Secretary-General our condolences to the families of the UN staff who lost their lives on the 12th of January and also to member States of this Assembly who lost personnel of their peacekeeping contingents.
We also recognize the valuable role of the Secretary-General’s envoy, Mr. Bill Clinton, and Under-Secretary-General, John Holmes in his capacity as Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations.
My delegation finally conveys its appreciation to you for giving us all this opportunity to once again renew our commitment to support the people of Haiti at this difficult time. We also look forward to the speedy implementation of the Resolution we have adopted today and welcome the announcement of a donor conference that would further enhance international support.
Thank you Madam President.