Washington: Haitian President-Elect Rene Preval announced on March 9 that he will meet with US President George W. Bush later this month.
Preval said he will meet with Bush on March 27 – 28, and will also use his US visit to hold discussions with officials at the Organization of American States (OAS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations.
It will be Preval’s first visit to the USA since his election to the Haitian presidency on February 7.
His announcement came on the same day that Jamaica’s Prime Minister P.J. Patterson told the OAS that the Caribbean Community will do everything in its power to ensure that Haiti is no longer isolated.
Patterson, who spoke to a protocolary meeting of the OAS Permanent Council, said Caricom has pledged to help Haiti “nurture a democratic tradition and receive from the international community the material and technical support it has so long deserved, in order to improve the living standards of the Haitian people”.
He also urged that every effort be made to bring Haiti into full participation in the various trade negotiations in the hemisphere and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“In this case, there can be no question about the need for special and differential treatment and technical assistance,” he said.
The Jamaican leader made the remarks while praising the “pivotal” role of the OAS in settling disputes and helping to bring solution to political crises in the Americas, including in Haiti.
He said that he and his Caribbean colleague Heads of Government “welcome and applaud the return of President Rene Preval as the duly elected leader of Haiti”.
He said regional heads are “all anxious to extend a warm embrace to” the democratically constituted government of Haiti at our next summit in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The UN Security Council had lauded the Haitian people for holding the first round of national elections on February 7 calling it “a fundamental step towards the restoration of democracy and stability in that country.”
The Security Council underlines that the electoral process should lead to the inauguration of a representative government, it said. “The Council reiterates the importance of national, municipal and local elections as pillars of democratic governance in Haiti.”
Preval’s swearing-in ceremony, scheduled for March 29, may have to be jettisoned, because, under the Haitian constitution, the president must take the oath of office before the new parliament begins.