At the opening of the International High Level Meeting on Haiti, the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, defended Brazil’s participation in the international mission in support of Haiti, despite domestic criticisms.
Amorim acknowledged that Brazil also suffers from "tremendous social privations," but he emphasized that this does not justify denying aid.
"That is a lesson I learned from Brazilians themselves of the most humble origins: that one doesn’t have to be rich to be solidary," he affirmed.
The meeting, which is being held in the Itamaraty Palace, is gathering representatives of 16 countries and 11 international organizations. The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate the results of international cooperation in Haiti during the past two years and outline new actions.
Amorim affirmed that Brazil’s participation was important for Haiti to acquire prospects for the future. Among the advances achieved, the Brazilian chancellor mentioned the closer ties between Haiti and the other countries in the region.
"Brazil has constantly sought to build bridges to restore the dialogue between Haiti and the other countries in the region, especially the ones in the Caribbean."
According to the minister, Haiti will be reintegrated with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) at the next summit meeting, in July.
The minister observed that Brazil is part of the United Nations peace mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Furthermore, the country engaged in an international campaign to gather resources for Haitian reconstruction and the democratic reinforcement of Haitian institutions.
Amorim said that the Brazilian government has also developed 13 sectorial cooperation projects in areas that will have an immediate social impact. They include initiatives to develop agricultural production, distribute school lunches, combat gender discrimination, and train firefighters.
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