Tags: bill | clinton | haiti | envoy

Bill Clinton to be Named U.N. Haiti Envoy: Officials

Tuesday, 19 May 2009 08:20 AM

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UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to name former U.S. President Bill Clinton as his special envoy to Haiti, U.N. officials said on Monday, in a move that could attract investment in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation and help stabilize the country.

"The announcement is expected to come soon," one U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The official said a formal announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

Clinton, who has galvanized efforts to help the impoverished Caribbean nation recover from the devastating impact of four hurricanes last year, accompanied Ban on a trip to Haiti earlier this year.

Several other diplomats confirmed the appointment of the former president, who is trying to help Haiti through his Clinton Global Initiative foundation.

"This is something that has been in the works for some time," a diplomat said.

During their March visit to Haiti both Clinton and Ban said they were impressed by Haiti's growth potential and urged its government to quickly exploit favorable terms of trade with the United States and the stabilizing presence of about 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers.

Another diplomat said Clinton was an "excellent choice" to help unlock Haiti's potential as an investment target.

Ban said the Caribbean nation, the Western hemisphere's poorest and one plagued by a history of violence and political unrest, had made progress in restoring peace and stability but must do more to attract investment.

Riots sparked by skyrocketing food prices led to the ouster of Haiti's government last year.

The United Nations says that low labor costs, proximity to the United States and Canada, and the duty-free access it will enjoy in the U.S. market for the next nine years could underpin future economic growth.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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