Obama offers help to Haiti for now, later

Jan. 15, 2010 at 3:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama pledged near-term aid for the devastating earthquake and long-term redevelopment help Friday to Haitian President Rene Preval.

"I pledged America's continued commitment to the government and the people of Haiti -- in the immediate effort to save lives and deliver relief, and in the long-term effort to rebuild," Obama said after his telephone conversation with Preval.

Obama said he and Preval agreed "it is absolutely essential" that efforts are coordinated among the United States, Haiti, the United Nations and "the many international partners and aid organizations that are now on the ground."

The people of Haiti should know the United States will "do what it takes to save lives and to help them get back on their feet," Obama said.

Obama also thanked the American people because "you've shown extraordinary compassion, already donating millions of dollars," despite tough economic times.

Obama said he would meet with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Saturday at the White House to discuss ways to "enlist and help the American people in this recovery and rebuilding effort going forward."

Preval also sent a message to the American people, Obama said.

"From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you," Obama relayed.

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