February 26, 2004
For Immediate Release
"Today I call on President Bush to appoint Senator Bob Graham as a Special Envoy to attempt to resolve the crisis in Haiti. Senator Graham has long been a leader in Florida and in the US Senate on foreign affairs. He knows the situation in Haiti extremely well, and knows the cost that widespread violence will cause not only in Haiti, but on our shores.
"The Bush Administration had only one hope for resolving the crisis in Haiti - an 11th hour proposal that has now been rejected by the opposition leaders. We must take further action now to support the rule of law in Haiti and prevent a widespread humanitarian crisis.
"Appointing Senator Graham as Special Envoy would demonstrate that our commitment to bringing peace, stability and respect for the rule of law to Haiti is genuine. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Colin Powell, former President Jimmy Carter and Senator Sam Nunn to Haiti to a high level delegation to restore democracy to Haiti. Recent events in Haiti have shown that it is past time for this Administration to take similar measures.
"Any Special Envoy will have their work cut out for them. The envoy needs to get the parties to agree on ending the political violence, as well as to address long-standing issues such as the release of political prisoners, and the need to rein in the paramilitaries in order to create the context where meaningful political dialogue can occur.
"I hope the President will take this opportunity to make use of Senator Graham's extraordinary experience and skills to help us combat the downward spiral of civic violence in Haiti to avoid further loss of human life and further collapse of the Haitian political system."