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U.N. update on Haiti cites 'cautious optimism' on future

Following up on a critical assessment made by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last February, the United Nations Security Council met in a special session Wednesday to hear a "status update" on the situation in Haiti.

"Cautious optimism," was the theme for the gathering.

Chaired by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who holds the Council presidency for September, the special session featured reports from former President Bill Clinton, now a United Nations special envoy, U.N. special representative Hedi Annabi and Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis.

The common thread throughout the presentations was that Haiti could indeed be rebuilt, but only with cooperation between the Haitian government, the international community and the Haitian diaspora.

Clinton, who expects to return to the country with a trade mission later this month, made it clear the path to recovery will be long and hard.

"In spite of the absence of basic infrastructure and the inadequacies of health, education and other areas. . . . I am convinced that Haiti has a remarkable opportunity to escape the chains of its past," he said.

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