(No. 21 - January 16, 2010 - 6:30 p.m. ET) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), on the situation in Haiti. The statement was made at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada headquarters at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2010:
“Early Friday morning I welcomed the first Canadians returning from Haiti. Many expressed their joy at being home and their thanks for the aid and comfort provided by our Embassy.
“Just as our returning citizens expressed their sincere gratitude, Canada’s important role in the region and our efforts in responding to the disaster in Haiti have been noted and appreciated by our allies and neighbours. Many have expressed a desire to coordinate closely with Canada.
“Over the past two days I have spoken with the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Uruguay. Our aim was to exchange information and assessments of the situation in Haiti and to share what we had respectively done to date.
“With the Foreign Minister of Jamaica, I welcomed the important role that Jamaicans are serving in facilitating the Caribbean Community’s relief efforts destined for Haiti. Canada will be working with Jamaica to facilitate delivery of communications equipment, by providing airlift capacity.
“In my conversation with the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, I commended him on the leadership his country has been demonstrating in the early days of the crisis. I was able to thank the Dominican Republic for its help in facilitating the transfer of Canadian citizens evacuated from Haiti to local hospitals, and in taking care of others before they were brought back to Canada.
“The Dominican Republic is also demonstrating regional leadership and is convening a meeting of regional leaders and foreign ministers early next week. It is now more critical than ever that our short- and long-term efforts be coordinated. I will be representing Canada at this meeting.
“It is vitally important for our efforts to be closely coordinated, and I will be staying in close contact with our Americas partners in the capitals, in New York and on the ground.”
For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada