US & Canada

Bill Clinton backs Haiti reconstruction

Bill Clinton in Port-au-Prince
Image caption Bill Clinton said he understood frustration at the slow pace of reconstruction

Former US President Bill Clinton has urged reconstruction in Haiti to continue, despite the country's current political crisis.

During a one-day visit to the country, he said he was confident that thousands made homeless by January's earthquake would be rehoused next year.

The UN envoy said he supported plans for international observers to oversee a review of recent disputed election.

He also visited a clinic treating victims of Haiti's cholera epidemic.

More than 2,400 people are now known to have died in the outbreak.

Mr Clinton's visit follows some calls for direct US aid to Haiti to be stopped until its political crisis is resolved.

The 28 November election was widely denounced, leading to violent protests and political stalemate ahead of a run-off in January.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - Mr Clinton's wife - has said there is US "frustration" over a lack of a co-ordinated response from Haiti's government.

But Mr Clinton, asked in Port-au-Prince whether suspending aid was justified, replied: "In my opinion, nothing has yet happened which justifies that."

'Pace increasing'

He said he shared the frustration of those who through reconstruction was too slow, but added: "I think they will see a big increase in the pace of movement next year."

He said hundreds of thousands of Haitians would be moved out of the camps next year and into permanent housing.

Mr Clinton also backed plans by Haiti's electoral council to re-count tally sheets under international observation and hold a more-transparent January run-off.

"I don't have a candidate - my candidate is the reconstruction process," he said.

"I want the people to feel good about this and to trust the outcome so that we have peace and order and that encourages the donors to keep investing in Haiti's future."

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