Preval: Aid better in Haitian provinces

March 9, 2010 at 3:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- Haitian President Rene Preval, speaking in Washington Tuesday, said it would be a "mistake" to rebuild Port-au-Prince as it was before the earthquake.

Instead, Preval urged a post-quake effort to develop Haiti's provinces, the Voice of America reported.

Preval met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in talks focused on the international donors conference for Haiti planned for the United Nations in New York March 31.

"To rebuild Port-au-Prince as it was before (the January quake) would be a major historical mistake," Preval told a news conference. "And that is the message that I am trying to convey, not only to the Haitians, but also to my international partners."

Preval said the early rescheduling of national elections were important. The elections were set for last month, but had to be postponed because of the 7-magnitude quake.

Clinton is set to lead the U.S. delegation at the New York donor's conference. "I want to assure you again that the United States and President (Barack) Obama and our administration remain committed to you," she said.

More than half of all U.S. households had made relief contributions to Haiti in addition to nearly $700 million in emergency U.S. aid, she said.

Clinton urged other countries to match the tariff-free status given to Haitian apparel imports by the United States, VOA said.

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