Canada to Host Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti in Montreal

(No. 40 – January 24, 2010 – 10 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced further information regarding the Ministerial Preparatory Conference of the Group of Friends of Haiti, major donors and regional and multilateral partners, to be held on Monday, January 25, 2010 in Montreal.

"Our government will continue to act in solidarity with the Haitian people, and to fully support Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive's commitment to move beyond reconstruction to build a new Haiti," said Minister Cannon. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fully engaged in the humanitarian response to this devastating earthquake, and has set in motion a rapid, comprehensive and determined disaster-relief effort on behalf of the Government of Canada.

"At the same time, we are also committed to working with the international community to establish a clear and common vision for the early recovery and longer-term reconstruction of Haiti. This meeting will be the first step in reaching that goal," added Minister Cannon.

Haiti's Prime Minister Bellerive has expressed his support for this initiative, and will attend the Conference. Also attending will be representatives of the Group of Friends of Haiti, the neighbouring Dominican Republic, and major donors and key regional and multilateral partners engaged in Haiti: the European Union, Spain and Japan.

A number of international organizations and key international financial institutions have also been invited to attend the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti, and have confirmed their attendance. These include the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the UN, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank. Participants will assess the current situation and identify remaining challenges to ensure the timely and effective delivery of critical assistance to those in need.

The Conference will provide an opportunity for the donor community, the Haitian government and the UN to review progress to date in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Haiti. It will also strengthen the international community's commitment to coordinate relief and recovery efforts to Haiti.

Also attending will be non-governmental organizations, which will participate in an information session to provide their views on the situation on the ground as well as their perspectives on long-term reconstruction needs in Haiti.

In addition, Montreal's Haitian Diaspora will be represented at the Conference.

Founded in the early 1990s, the Group of Friends of Haiti is an informal association of like-minded nations that meets on the margins of the UN Security Council. Member states are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Uruguay. As a Friend of Haiti, Canada has played a leadership role in providing international support to the Government of Haiti, including by working to renew the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to restore security and stability in Haiti. This Conference further strengthens Canada's expanded engagement in the Americas.

For more information on the conference, and a complete list of participants, please visit the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti

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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