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President: Haitian People Grateful for Help from China

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China has made great efforts to provide assistance to earthquake-hit Haiti, and the Haitian people would be grateful to the Chinese government for their precious help, Haitian President Rene Preval said Sunday.

Preval said the Haitian victims have benefited from the help provided by the Chinese rescue teams and medical te

ams. The Chinese medical personnel are operating a mobile treatment center in the capital and playing "a significant role" in disaster relief mission.

"A chartered plane from China is to bring more relief materials tommorrow. We appreciate the Chinese government's care and support for us following the quake," Preval told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

On Haiti's relations with China, Preval said the establishment of trade offices in each other's capital during his first presidential term was a major development in bilateral ties, and Haiti would like to push for normalization of relations on the basis of the existing trade relationship.

"Trade volume between the two countries continued to go up last year," the president said, "I would like to invite Chinese investors to Haiti to boost the bilateral trade relations."

Preval said the Haitian people would enjoy employment opportunities when capable entrepreneurs from around the globe bring their investment to Haiti.

"According to a favorable US policy toward Haiti, products produced by Chinese investors' textile processing enterprises in Haiti will be exempted from US customs," the president said.

Preval said he is interested in Chinese culture and news stories, and often watches China's TV programs in French. "I hope your (China's) trade representative in Haiti would invite me to be the first Haitian president to visit China," he told Xinhua.

About imminent pressures on his government, Preval said his top concern is to settle hundreds of thousands of homeless and those living in massive tents cities before the rainy season comes.

"Our general reconstruction strategy is to move the victims to better environment ... It's necessary to move them to other provinces, instead of keeping them here in Port-au-Prince, which had been overdeveloped in history," said Preval, who believed the post-earthquake reconstruction would be an opportunity for the nation's balanced development.

Haiti has so far signed seven agreements on building road system, which is crucial for the reconstruction efforts, the president said.

"Haiti can not finish reconstruction by its own," Preval said. "We appreciate all countries which provided immediate help after the earthquake."

"Although there was inevitably some discordance shortly after the quake, our coordination with the international society has been improving as the rescue operations unfolded," the president added.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2010)

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