Minister Cannon Chairs Conference Call with Haitian PM and Friends of Haiti Foreign Ministers and Confirms Ministerial Conference in Montreal on Haiti

(No. 25 - January 17, 2010 - 10:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, today hosted a teleconference with Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, nine foreign ministers from the Group of Friends of Haiti, and José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, to strengthen the international community's commitment to coordinate relief and recovery efforts in Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.

"Participants fully support Prime Minister Bellerive's commitment to move beyond reconstruction to build a new Haiti," said Minister Cannon. "Today's teleconference is critical to creating a greater understanding within the international community of the current needs identified by the Haitian government for humanitarian relief and to beginning a conversation on reconstruction. It also initiated an important dialogue on the mid- and long-term requirements in Haiti and underlined the shared commitment and solidarity with the Haitian people. Canada's long-standing membership in the informal Friends of Haiti Group allows us to leverage this key diplomatic forum to discuss the way ahead, exchange ideas and propose initiatives. It also builds on our expanded engagement in the Americas."

Founded in the early 1990s, Friends of Haiti is an informal gathering of like-minded nations that meet on the margins of the UN Security Council. As a member, Canada has played a leadership role in renewing the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to create a secure and stable Haiti.

"The Government of Canada is also pleased to announce that Prime Minister Bellerive and the Friends of Haiti ministers have accepted Canada's invitation to convene a meeting of foreign ministers and key multilateral players on January 25 in Montreal to begin the planning process for a major conference on Haitian reconstruction, to be held later in the spring," said Minister Cannon. "The Montreal meeting, which I will chair, will provide an opportunity to reassess the situation in Haiti and ensure that MINUSTAH can focus international efforts to help the Haitian people meet the current challenges and prepare for long-term stabilization and reconstruction."

Led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has held discussions with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Minister Cannon's work within the Friends of Haiti Group builds on Canada's diplomatic efforts to date. Minister Cannon has also spoken separately on Haiti with UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

These diplomatic activities are complemented by coordination efforts among the immediate regional partners of Haiti. The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), has engaged with the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Uruguay. These talks have resulted in important contributions, such as the upcoming delivery of communications equipment through a joint Jamaican-Canadian mission using Canadian airlift capacity. Minister of State Kent will also be travelling to the Dominican Republic on January 18 to meet with his CARICOM counterparts to further discuss contributions to alleviate Haiti's humanitarian crisis.

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A list of the teleconference participants is attached.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Backgrounder - Participants in the Friends of Haiti Group Teleconference

Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy

Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza

Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Luiz Nunez Amorim

United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton

French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Bernard Kouchner

Chile's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariano Fernández

Peru's Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Antonio García Belaúnde

Uruguay's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Vaz

Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Patricia Espinosa

Argentina's Acting Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Victorio Taccetti

Costa Rica's Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgar Ugalde