Haiti formally asks US to bolster security after quake
Jan 18, 2010, 5:08 GMT
Washington - Haiti has formally asked the US government to provide security and aid in the long-term rebuilding of the earthquake-ruined country, according to a joint statement from the two governments issued Sunday.
The statement followed a weekend meeting between Haitian President Rene Preval and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Haiti.
It gave formal status to the large presence of US military and aid teams to help Haiti recover from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that crushed the capital Port-au-Prince and killed as many as 200,000 people Tuesday.
Survivors in the 1.9-million city have little food, water, electricity or communications, and the US military was moving thousands of troops and aid materials to help with the rescue.
Preval welcomed 'as essential' the efforts of the US to support 'recovery, stability and long-term rebuilding' of the country.
The president asked the US to 'assist as needed in augmenting security' in support not only of the government and the people of Haiti but also of the United Nations, international partners and organizations on the ground.
Denis McDonough, deputy national security advisor to US President Barack Obama, told reporters that the agreement is based on a 'very good working relationship with all of our partners.'
'Everything we are doing here is obviously in coordination with our UN partners and obviously in close consultation with the government of Haiti,' he said.
Within the first 48 hours after the quake, the US military had re- opened the damaged airport, which it is operating without an air traffic control tower.
An estimated 300 aircraft are taking off and landing on a strip that before the quake only saw about three aircraft a day, said Colonel Buck Elton, the commander who oversaw resuscitation of the airport.