Nations: Haiti Must Lead In Rebuilding Efforts
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Diplomats from many countries gathered in Montreal yesterday to discuss rebuilding Haiti. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among them, and she spoke with NPR's Michele Kelemen.
MICHELE KELEMEN: French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, says what was destroyed in minutes in Haiti will take years to rebuild. Canada's foreign minister Lawrence Cannon said the donors agreed to coordinate their efforts. They haven't come up with a system to do that yet, but Secretary Clinton told NPR in an interview at the conference center in Montreal, that technical experts are looking for practical ways to use donor funds wisely.
HILLARY CLINTON: But it's going to be a very challenging time because the Haitian government knows it has to change. The people's mindsets about education and the importance of choosing it, participating in democracy - I think we're going to see a good effort and ultimately it's up to the Haitian people. But there's a great willingness by the international community to help.
KELEMEN: And you talk about partnering rather than being a patron of Haiti or patronage. How do you do that when the government was decimated in this?
CLINTON: When I went down to see President Preval a week ago Saturday, we talked, of course, about the immediate crisis and everything that had to be done. But he very clearly said, but we cannot lose all the work we've done. We need to take that work and make it better and build on it. So, I think we're in a good position to work with the Haitian government.
KELEMEN: But even getting the government back on its feet, I mean, the U.S., I guess, is offering some space - some workspace?
CLINTON: We are. We're offering some space; we're offering communications ability; we're offering security. I think we're going to be in a very positive position, working with the rest of the international community, to get prepared for the Donor's Conference in New York.
KELEMEN: Michele Kelemen, NPR News.
INSKEEP: Haiti's president is asking the world for hundreds of thousands of tents, and in solidarity with people in tents, President Rene Preval also says he is going to move into a tent home on the lawn of his collapsed palace in downtown Port- au-Prince.
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