Tags: US | Haiti | aid | conference

UK Snubs Clinton Conference on Haiti Aid

Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:20 PM

Britain has pledged no new aid for the reconstruction of Haiti and will be the only big economy not represented at ministerial level at a landmark donor conference in New York to plan the country’s future, The Times has learnt.

As Hillary Clinton and the former President Bill Clinton lead a top-level American delegation to the conference, Britain will be represented by Philip Parham, the Deputy Ambassador to the UN. Brazil, France, Canada, Spain, Japan and the Irish Republic as well as the US are sending senior ministers.

Nearly three months after one of the worst natural disasters of modern times, a Haitian government report places the death toll at 220,000 while the people believe that twice that number were killed. More than a million homeless Haitians are still in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid, yet the UN has reported a slump in donations to its top-priority relief fund.

Aid agencies expressed bewilderment at Britain’s low-key presence at a conference that could determine the fate of ambitious plans to lift Haiti out of its cycle of poverty and crisis.

“Frankly it’s inexplicable why the UK would not send someone at ministerial level,” Louis Belanger, of Oxfam International, said. “Perhaps it has felt sidelined because it has not been one of the top three organisers of this conference,” he added, referring to the US, the UN and the EU. “But this was one of the worst humanitarian disasters in decades. We need leadership. We need vision, and certainly the UK needs to be a part of that.”

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Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:20 PM
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