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Ma Ying-jeou to discuss aid to Haiti in Dominican stop

The issue of whether to forgive Haiti's debt is under review: Ma

Ma Ying-jeou to discuss aid to Haiti in Dominican stop

President Ma Ying-jeou will discuss long-term plans for resettlement and reconstruction assistance to earthquake - stricken Haiti, including the possibility of debt relief, with leaders of the Dominican Republic and Haiti during a brief stop in Santo Domingo yesterday.
Ma, together with his entourage of over 100 officials, legislators, staff and accompanying journalists, were slated to depart Palmerola Military Airport in a chartered China Airlines Boeing 747-400 at 6:30 a.m. yesterday (8:30 p.m. Taiwan time) after participating in the inaugural of new Honduran President Porifino Lubo and arrive at Santo Domingo International Airport at 11:10 a.m. (11:10 p.m. Taiwan time).
Speaking to accompanying reporters in a pre-departure tea party at the Hotel Real Intercontinental Hotel, Ma said that while most members of his delegation will remain at the airport, he will meet with Dominican Republican President Leonard Fernandez and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive in the Dominican Republic capital to discuss "methods of assistance" for Haiti, in which over 150,000 persons were killed and millions rendered homeless by a 7.0 magnitude temblor Jan. 12.
"The key point is that the period of rescue has already ended in Haiti and the period of resettlement and reconstruction has begun," said the Taiwan president, who had earlier stated his desire to discuss "long term" assistance strategies.
Ma stated that he had originally hoped to meet Haitian President Rene Preval in Santo Domingo but related that Preval was "too busy" and had asked Bellerive to proceed to the Dominican capital instead.
During the three-hour transit stop in Santo Domingo, the CAL Boeing 747-400 will unload 10 tons of medicine, food and other relief supplies for transportation to Haiti before departing for Los Angeles International Airport, where the chartered CAL jetliner will arrive at 6:10 p.m. (10:10 a.m. today in Taiwan) and return to Taiwan tomorrow.
Asked about the possibility of forgiving Haiti's debt, Ma related that it was difficult to even access the actual scale of Haiti's debt and that Taiwan government was discussing banks the extent of the problem and trying to see what ways could be used to reduce the burden.
However, the Taiwan president stated that "we have not yet made a decision."
The Taiwan president said that international media had reported that neither side appeared to be using the Haitian disaster for "cutthroat diplomatic struggle" and attributed the development to his own "diplomatic truce" policy toward the PRC.
The Taiwan president said that he could not determine whether Beijing had any political motives in its Haitian aid policy, which has included an appeal to Taiwan for joint cooperation, "because I cannot see such motives in its words or actions."
Ma said that the PRC "might have had" political motives in such cases before, but observed that China had itself suffered a devastating earthquake in Sichuan last May that killed tens of thousands of Chinese citizens.
The Taiwan president also dismissed criticism that his KMT government did not act fast enough to provide rescue and relief assistance after the Jan. 12 earthquake had shattered the Haitian capital of Port au Prince.


Updated : 2021-05-14 21:22 GMT+08:00