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28528: (news) Chamberlain: Chirac backs new Haitian President, UN mission (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     PARIS, June 30 (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac said on
Friday United Nations forces should remain in Haiti to continue their
mission to help preserve order and pledged support for the impoverished
Caribbean country.
     "France's heart beats for Haiti," he told reporters after talks with
visiting President Rene Preval.
     Haiti could count on 'total support' from France in its moves to
"re-establish security, political stability, and democracy," a spokesman
for Chirac said following a meeting between the heads of state.
     An international force, now numbering some 8,700 soldiers and police,
was sent to Haiti after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted
in a bloody 2004 rebellion.
     Preval, elected in February 2005, was in Paris on a trip to drum up
investment, debt-relief, and security cooperation after meeting with EU
officials in Brussels on Tuesday where he secured an increase in
development aid.
     He said his government planned to build up tourism to boost an economy
heavily reliant on agriculture, and improve road construction to help
kick-start development. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas.
     "My mission for the next five years is twofold -- to set up and
reinforce state institutions, and create a climate for investment," he told
a news conference.
     Preval oversaw the swearing-in of a new Haitian government  this month
to replace outgoing Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, whose U.S.-backed
interim government took over when Aristide was forced from power.