Int'l Haiti aid meeting opens in Montreal   2010-01-25 22:47:27 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Zhang Dacheng

MONTREAL, Canada, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Major donor nations, along with regional and multilateral organizations, opened a meeting here Monday morning on rebuilding efforts for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told the introductory session that his government had been contacting extensively with various social sectors and was determined to rebuild a new Haiti with generous international support.

The Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti aims to lay the groundwork for a long-term plan to rebuild the quake-ravaged Caribbean nation.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, who chairs the meeting, said all partners had come together to support the Haitian people as they seek a new and better future for the country.

But he also said it was clear and important to accord to Haiti's sovereignty and independent voice when marshalling efforts.

"That goodwill must now be channeled into a deliberate effort that is founded on sound and strategic planning, and that builds on Haitian government priorities for relief, recovery and reconstruction," he said.

A shared commitment was not enough, he said, adding that clear vision, coordination and adherence to key principles of aid effectiveness will be essential to accelerate the efforts and avoid duplication.

"We have created a space here in Montreal for open dialogue and communication in anticipation of a major conference on reconstruction," Cannon said.

Money was in short supply for Haiti right now, and it may continue to be a problem as rebuilding work goes on, Cannon added.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will address the meeting later.

The event brings together a number of international organizations and key global financial institutions such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the World Bank, as well as the Group of Friends of Haiti.

Founded in the early 1990s, the Group of Friends of Haiti is an informal association of like-minded nations that meets on the sidelines of the UN Security Council. Member states include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Uruguay.

A strong earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck areas close to Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, causing huge loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure. Numerous aftershocks were reported -- the strongest with a magnitude of 5.9 on Jan. 20.

Editor: Yan
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