Above: Haiti President Michel Martelly with United States President Barack Obama
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti President Michel Martelly held his first-ever meeting with United States President Barack Obama on Thursday at the White House in Washington, DC.
The talks were characterized as “very cordial” in a statement by Martelly’s office.
“I think we are all recognizing that we have a lot more work to do,” Obama said. “We want to make sure that all the children of Haiti are able to lead lives of opportunity, prosperity and security.”
The US president pointed to certain signs of progress in Haiti over the last few years, including strong economic growth last year that was among the highest in the Caribbean region.
“The economy is growing. Security is improving. Infrastructure is getting rebuilt. Rubble has been removed,” Obama said Thursday.
Martelly said he was grateful for the United States for “always standing by the Haitian people” and for helping to build democracy in the country.
The Haitian president, who met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, vowed that the country would hold elections this year, following more than two years of delays.
Elections have become a major issue for Haiti internationally, as countries like the US and international organizations like the UN continue to urge action on that front.
It was not clear whether Martelly reiterated his call for a high-level conference between the United States and the CARICOM bloc, as he has been pushing for since last year.