Clinton Defends Preval, Says US Getting Aid Out of Capital

Jan 21, 2010 5:46pm

ABC News' Kirit Radia: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended Haitian President Rene Preval from criticism that he has not provided public leadership following the devastating earthquake last week Tuesday. Clinton pointed to a joint press conference the two held on Saturday when she met with Preval at the airport in the country’s flattened capital of Port au Prince. “He spoke directly to the people of Haiti through the Haitian media,” Clinton told reporters at a press conference today. “President Preval has worked extremely hard, meeting all day, every day, with not only the members of his own government who are able to come together with him, but also leaders from other countries, NGOs, the UN, and so much else,” Clinton added. Preval has yet to address his country directly aside from the press conference with Clinton, yet he has provided interviews to several US television and print media. Communications in the poverty-stricken country were nearly impossible in the days following the quake and Preval, whose own presidential palace was destroyed by the massive 7.0 quake, was only able to speak with President Obama for the first time on Friday when the US embassy stationed a communications officer with him to improve contact with the Haitian government. Today, as thousands of Haitians continued to flee the decimated capital for the countryside, Secretary Clinton said the United States was stepping up efforts to send aid to those areas. “We’re trying to get more shelter, food, medicine, certainly water.  People feel safer in the countryside and we want to support them there,” she said.

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