New Haitian President Rene Preval Visit to United States

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Watch this video... Haitian new President Rene Preval is paying his first visit to the United States.

He only took over from President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last month from in the first ever peaceful transfer of power in the island nation's history.

His visit comes as the United States Congress debates further aid to Haiti, aid that U-S Secretary of Defence William Perry says will continue to include U-S troops.

On a chilly day in Washington, Haitian President Rene Preval was making his first visit to the U-S capitol since his election last December.

His trip coming as the U-S Congress debates whether to extend further aid to Preval's fledgling government.

It was only fitting that Preval should visit the Pentagon and U-S Secretary of Defense William Perry.

23-thousand U-S troops were part of a multi-national peacekeeping force that helped insure Haiti's first peaceful transfer of power in the nation's history.

The U-S military presence in Haiti has been cut to fewer than 600 troops, but Secretary Perry lauded the ongoing international effort that has brought democracy and relative peace to Haiti.

SOUNDBITE:
"The President represents a new beginning for Haiti. The first peaceful transition of power in the history of Haiti. A democratically elected government dedicated to the welfare of all the Haitian people. Haiti faces many challenges, but this country now has brighter prospects for the future than at any time in its past."
SUPER CAPTION: William Perry, U-S Secretary of Defence

Preval, still looking for further U-S aid to his country, was quick to heap praise on the Americans.

SOUNDBITE:(French)
"The United States under the leadership of President Clinton has vigorously supported, along with other friendly countries, the restoration of democracy in Haiti and on behalf of the Haitian people I wish to thank him."
SUPER CAPTION: Rene Preval, President of Haiti

And despite a pullout of U-S troops, Perry says some Americans will stay in Haiti along with a force of U-N peacekeepers.

SOUNDBITE:
"A new United Nations mission led by Canada has taken over in Haiti. Distinct from this peacekeeping mission, the United States will provide engineering troops to help rebuild Haiti's infrastructure."
SUPER CAPTION: William Perry, U-S Secretary of Defence

Preval meets with U-S President Bill Clinton Thursday, who has his own problems, including convincing a sceptical U-S Congress to continue sending aid to Haiti.

Tags: haitian prime minister, michelle pierre louis, premiere ministre haiti, rene preval prime minister, Change Haiti, Yes We Can