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President launches construction of Haiti's court building

President launches construction of Haiti's court building

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Aug. 13 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou and Haiti's President Michel Martelly jointly presided over a ceremony marking the beginning of construction of a new Supreme Court building funded by Taiwan in the Haitian capital Tuesday. The building, which will cost around US$16 million and is scheduled to be completed in 2015, will replace the old courthouse that was destroyed in a powerful earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation in January 2010. During his address at the ceremony, Ma said he was deeply moved that Haiti had given priority to the project, which he said demonstrated the importance Haiti attaches to the rule of law. Martelly said rebuilding Haiti's judicial system and improving work conditions are two essential components of the reconstruction of the quake-devastated country, a goal that the government is working toward in cooperation with the private sector. Ma arrived in Haiti earlier Tuesday on the first leg of his five-nation diplomatic tour. He is the first Republic of China (Taiwan) president to visit Haiti since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1956. Ma was greeted at the airport by Martelly. The two presidents later held talks at the presidential palace. During the meeting, Martelly described the ROC as the most important ally of Haiti, recalling that the first rescue team to arrive in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake was from Taiwan. Martelly expressed his deep appreciation to the ROC for the assistance provided in the rehabilitation of his country and pledged that Haiti will always be a friend of the ROC. Ma, meanwhile, said the ROC has been reaching out to Haiti based on the long-time friendship between both countries. Besides finishing work on the 200 permanent housing units that were completed for quake victims last year, the government is also planning to promote other cooperation projects to help Haiti recover from the earthquake, Taiwan's president said. Ma also promised to assess the feasibility of the proposal by Martelly for Taiwanese businesses to invest in Haiti's tourism. Ma expressed the hope that Haiti will continue to help Taiwan push for its goal to participate meaningfully in international organizations. He also invited Martelly to visit Taiwan, which was quickly accepted by the Haitian president. During his flight from New York to Haiti, Ma rejected accusations that the government was engaging in money diplomacy in Haiti by putting up the money for the Supreme Court building. The Liberty Times, citing a July 2011 People's Daily article, claimed on Aug. 12 that the money for the Supreme Court had already been raised from the international community as part of a government reconstruction plan. But the government responded that much of the money pledged has not reached Haiti, and Ma said on his flight that the Supreme Court building is being funded from an annual budget earmarked by the government for cooperation plans with its diplomatic allies. The project is being carried out through a normal process and does not require any additional funds beyond the annual budget, he said. Ma was scheduled to depart Haiti later Tuesday for Paraguay, where he will attend the inauguration of the country's new president, Horacio Cartes. He will also visit St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines before returning to Taiwan Aug. 22. (By Kelven Huang and Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-03-06 09:19 GMT+08:00