Today, Secretary Clinton met with Haitian President Rene Preval. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton remarked, "Let me begin by saying how honored we are to have President Preval here at the State Department. Everyone knows how devastated Haiti was by the earthquake of January the 12th. The Haitian people suffered so greatly and the Haitian Government was severely damaged. President Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive, the members of the cabinet, and the presidential staff, along with the people of Haiti themselves, have worked very hard these last two months to recover."
The Secretary continued, "The United States and the international community mounted the largest ever rescue and relief effort. Progress has been made, but not nearly enough, and therefore, we are holding these meetings with President Preval today and tomorrow and the next day to discuss in depth what we need to do still to alleviate suffering and what we will do together to help build back Haiti better. The United States alone in this first phase has supplied nearly $700 million in assistance. Nearly one half of all households in America have contributed something to private relief efforts.
"We are preparing for the major donors conference in New York on March 31st, and we are listening very carefully to President Preval and the voices of the Haitian people as to what our next steps should be. President Preval made the very important point that we must work toward elections to ensure the stability and legitimacy of the Haitian Government. I assured President Preval that the United States would work with the international community to hold elections as soon as appropriate.
"There are many specific problems that must be addressed, from how we get people into safe housing before and during the rainy season, to how we provide fertilizer and seed to Haiti's farmers so that they can begin planting, to how we get Haiti's factories going again and start new factories throughout the country, how we convince other countries to extend the same favorable tariffs that the United States does under the HOPE program."
The Secretary concluded, "I want to assure you again that the United States and President Obama and our Administration remain committed to you. We believe in Haiti's promise and we are committed to Haiti's future."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.