Brazil foreign minister: Haiti stabilizing, but food crisis looms
ROME — The situation in hunger-struck Haiti is stabilizing, but the country needs continued aid in the face of the global food crisis, Brazil’s foreign minister said Monday.
The impoverished Caribbean nation stands to suffer more than many other nations from the recent rise in food prices because of its fragile political and economic situation, said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
Riots in April over rising food prices left seven dead and cost Haiti’s prime minister his job.
“In spite of all the difficulties, that are real, the daily life of the Haitian people is improving,” Amorim told a news conference after a meeting of the “Friends of Haiti,” an informal group of countries, including the United States and the EU, which are spearheading aid for Haiti.
The meeting in Rome came in the run-up to this week’s international conference at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to discuss food security.
“Many developing countries have suffered with the food crisis ... but Haiti, because of its especially fragile situation, coming out of a very difficult political crisis, will suffer more than the others,” Amorim said.
He said the international community should speed up its projects for job creation and food production in the country, where 80 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.
Brazil has been at the forefront of efforts to stabilize Haiti, contributing the largest contingent in a 9,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force.
Haitian Agriculture Minister Francois Severin, in Rome for the summit, expressed hope his country could soon be on the road to recovery.
“We know we are sick, but now we know what is wrong with us, we know what the problems are and we can get started on long-term solutions,” Severin told the news conference.
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