US, EU promise coordinated approach to Haitian reconstruction
The United States and European Union pledged Thursday to work closely to aid Haiti's long-term reconstruction after last week's massive earthquake, dpa reported.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she and Catherine Ashton, the EU's new foreign policy chief, agreed on a "coordinated, integrated, international response to the reconstruction and the return of prosperity and opportunity to Haiti."
Clinton said she discussed a range of critical priorities including Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Balkan region with Ashton, who was in Washington on her first trip outside the EU since becoming the bloc's first-ever single foreign policy head in December.
The international community has launched a massive rescue and recovery effort, which has been hampered in Haiti by logistical nightmares in getting aid into the impoverished Caribbean country.
Ashton touted the EU's pledge this week of more than 500 million dollars for Haitian reconstruction. There was "great willingness" in Europe to work with the US toward a "strategic approach to support that nation into economic growth and into a new world."
Ashton drew some criticism in Europe for not including a visit to Haiti in her trip across the Atlantic. Karel de Gucht, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, was in Port-au-Prince Thursday. Clinton visited Haiti over the weekend.
As she embarks on her new foreign-policy role, Ashton said this week that she is planning visits to Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi and working on further trips to the Balkans and Middle East.