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President Obama Confirms Commitment to Haiti; Haiti Pledges Repayment

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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspapers

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - President Obama renewed his vow for continued relief to Haiti during Haitian President Rene Preval's visit to the White House on March 10.

As citizens of the earthquake-stricken nation struggle to rebuild, Obama said the U.S. must continue to support Haiti in its hour of need.

"The situation on the ground remains dire and people should be under no illusions that the crisis is over," Obama said. "That's why, even as the U.S. military responsibly hands off relief functions to our Haitian and international partners, America's commitment to Haiti's recovery and reconstruction must endure and will endure," he continued.

The U.S. government has already given the small Caribbean country over $700 million in aid, while U.S. citizens have made over $1 billion in private donations.

Preval thanked the U.S. for its "massive, spontaneous, generous help" in response to the earthquake. Preval thanked the U.S. "not only for the material aid" but for the "psychological response" as well. He told reporters that with the Americans' help, Haitians feel they have an ally in the United States.

According to The New York Times, Haiti is devising a long-term reconstruction plan to present to the United Nations for funding on March 31.

Preval said that before the country asks for money to rebuild, it needs to show investors that it is capable of paying them back. He believes the first step in that process is to hold elections.

"I think that is what constitutes a guarantee for investors, for the population-that there are some guarantees, that there's some security about their future," Preval said.

Haiti recently postponed its parliamentary elections scheduled for February because of the earthquake. It is unclear whether there will be an election this year.


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