Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cuba, US Meet But Reach no Deal on Haiti Aid

Jorge Bolaños, Head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. and First Vice Minister of the Cuban Foreign Ministry

Cuba and the United States have held a series of unprecedented talks to coordinate aid to earthquake-stricken Haiti but so far have failed to reach agreement, a top Cuban official said Wednesday.

The two longtime foes, which have had no diplomatic relations for half a century, have met three times so far to discuss cooperation on Haiti and could meet again soon, said Jorge Bolanos, who heads the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

"We have to continue because we have not produced any agreements" on how to coordinate bilateral aid to impoverished Haiti after it was devastated by a massive earthquake that killed an estimated 220,000 people in January, Bolanos said.

"We have not produced a definition of what the US could do" to rebuild Haiti's health system, he added.

Cuba dispatched doctors to its Caribbean neighbor to assist in the aid effort, and 700 of them remain, according to the Cuban envoy. It also opened up its airspace to the United States for aid transfers after the quake, in a gesture widely hailed by US officials.

"That shows the disposition of Cuba to cooperate with any country, including the US," Bolanos said in English.

Cuba wants to build a hospital in Haiti, where Cuban doctors would help train Haitians to eventually manage the health center. But Bolanos said the project needed cooperation from other countries to be implemented.

"We need unity in Haiti," Bolanos said, warning that aid to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere should not be "a charity project," nor should it seek to divide up the country into "market segments."

Haiti's sovereignty must be respected by countries participating in reconstruction efforts he said, "so that the Haitian government could exercise "its authority and work for the benefit of the Haitian people, not foreign companies," he said.

Source: RawStory

No comments:

Post a Comment