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Kouchner: Haiti effort could have been better

 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, smiles as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, left, gestures as they deliver a joint pre...

FRANCE US CLINTON

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, smiles as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, left, gestures as they deliver a joint pre...

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday that ideally the Haiti rescue mission should have been better coordinated but the magnitude of the national disaster made that impossible. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there would be efforts in the future to "cut through the bureaucracy."
Kouchner and Clinton brushed aside critics in France who have complained that the pre-eminent U.S. rescue role at times hindered getting in help, including a French NGO's field hospital that arrived days late.
"There is always some misunderstanding," Kouchner said at a joint news conference following his meeting with Clinton.
"Yes, I do regret we were unable to coordinate, but it was impossible to coordinate," Kouchner said. "To be efficient in an earthquake" rescuers must be there "let's say in the first hour."
Kouchner is co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and worked with the group in Haiti nearly four decades ago. Clinton referred to him as a "diplomat with a doctor's compassion."
He said the Haiti quake was "the most tragic natural disaster I have ever seen." He said an international working group to focus on reconstruction will meet soon, but gave no details.
Clinton said that moving forward they will be thinking about "how to divide responsibility" in Haiti.
"We will pledge our best efforts to cut through the bureaucracy and create circumstances that will enable Haiti to have a better chance in the future," she said.
"This will not, by any means, be a perfect endeavor. The challenges are enormous."
However, Clinton said, Haitians "are demonstrating resilience, ingenuity and resolve."
"We have to match that."


Updated : 2021-05-15 16:09 GMT+08:00