Bill Clinton urges donors to fulfill promises to Haiti

The Miami HeraldSeptember 11, 2009 

Former President Bill Clinton has called on donor countries to make good on financial pledges to help Haiti recover from back-to-back storms last year.

Since a donors conference in April, at which $760 million had been pledged, only $21 million has actually been disbursed, said Clinton, the United Nations special envoy for Haiti.

The difference needs to be paid "now," Clinton said late Wednesday at a U.N. Security Council special session on the situation in Haiti. In addition to Clinton, Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis and U.N. special representative Hedi Annabi addressed the council.

The meeting was scheduled to follow up on a critical assessment that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made in February.

"Cautious optimism," was the theme for the gathering, chaired by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who holds the council presidency for September.

The common thread throughout the presentations was that Haiti could be rebuilt, but only with cooperation between the Haitian government, the international community and the Haitian diaspora.

Clinton, who expects to return to the country with a trade mission later this month, made it clear the path to recovery will be long and hard.

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