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Dominican president sworn in for third term
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13:02, August 17, 2008

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Dominican President Leonel Fernandez was sworn in for a third term on Saturday, promising to steer the country out of an economic slowdown.

In his inauguration speech, Fernandez said he would be committed to curbing inflation, continuing to promote economic development and maintaining financial stability in the country.

Fernandez said his country's economy is facing great difficulties due to a deteriorating U.S. economy and rising oil and food prices.

"We are aware of the great challenges awaiting us over the next four years. They are tough challenges, even intimidating challenges," he said during the speech at the National Congress.

He asked the congress to approve a loan of 210 million U.S. dollars for farmers to increase output and counter the economic slowdown.

The United States plays a very important role in the Dominican economy, as U.S. citizens buy some 80 percent of Dominican exports and the country is home to over 1 million Dominican emigrants, who provide one-tenth of Dominican gross domestic product through remittances.

Fernandez, 54, first coming to power in 1996, and was reelected in 2004 after a four-year hiatus.

The president, who grew up in New York, recently carried out a major U.S. trade agreement, hoping more cooperation with the economic giant can pull his country out of the economic deterioration.

Dignitaries including presidents of Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador attended the inauguration ceremony.

The Dominican Republic, a Caribbean country, has an area of 48,734 square km, and a population of over 8 million.


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