Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird Concludes Visit to Haiti

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 26, 2013

Above: the talks in Haiti (Photo: OP Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Canada Foreign Minister John Baird and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy concluded a visit to Haiti on Monday.

The purpose of the trip was to “see first-hand the contributions that Canada has been making to the country’s development.”

Both ministers met with President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

“Canada plays a key role in international efforts to support Haiti and help its people overcome the immense challenges they contend with daily,” Baird said. “We share with Haitian leaders the goal of seeing a self-sustaining economy with opportunity for all Haitians and a greater role for private-sector actors, including Canadian companies.”

The visit comes after it was revealed in January by International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino that Canada was “reviewing its long-term engagement strategy with Haiti.”

On that front, Baird said Canada’s goal was “to get real and lasting results for Haiti and value for money for Canadian taxpayers — the Haitian and Canadian people expect no less of their respective governments.”

In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the visit by Baird and Ablonczy would “assist the government’s review of its long-term engagement of Haiti.”

The ministers also met with Haiti Foreign Minister Pierre-Richard Casimir.

“Through our engagement in the Americas, Canada has been working in partnership with our neighbours, including Haiti, to build a safer and more prosperous hemisphere,” Ablonczy said in a statement. “Our time in Haiti today will give us invaluable perspective on how Canada can best support the Haitian people in their progress toward these goals.”

Canada echoed the call by the United Nations’ Mariano Fernandez and Nigel Fisher for Haiti to hold the country’s long-delayed legislative elections.

The Ministers said they reiterated “Canada’s concern over the upcoming legislative and municipal elections and the need for the Haitian government to seek a consensus on a permanent electoral council,” although they said they “noted the recent efforts toward dialogue” within Haiti’s government.

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