France asks UN to specify U.S. role in Haiti relief efforts

21:40, January 18, 2010      

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The United Nations needs to specify the role of the United States whose military forces are controlling the main airport in Port-au-Prince, capital of quake-hit Haiti, a French official said Monday.

"The UN is working on it. I hope we can get a decision. I hope things can be specified about the role of the United States," French State Secretary of Cooperation Alain Joyandet told Europe 1 radio after returning from Haiti.

"It is about helping Haiti; it is not about occupying Haiti," complained Joyandet.

He said he had to intervene personally last Saturday to get authorization from the Americans for the landing in Port-au-Prince of a French plane carrying relief materials.

Earlier reports said the Geneva-based aid group Doctors Without Borders had complained that the U.S.-controlled airport impeded relief distribution.

The world community has been intensifying relief efforts in Haiti in the past few days after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.

At least 50,000 people are believed to have died in the quake, and the death toll could be much higher.

The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on Monday in New York to discuss coordination of the massive international relief efforts in Haiti.

Source: Xinhua
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