WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Haiti and the Dominican Republic later this week before heading to a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, the State Department said.
Clinton is due to arrive in Haiti on Thursday, and go to the Dominican Republican later that day before heading to Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, her spokesman Robert Woods told reporters.
"While in Haiti, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Rene Preval to discuss issues of common concern, including stability, security and assistance," Wood said.
"In the Dominican Republic, the secretary plans to meet with President Leonel Fernandez and will discuss bilateral development cooperation and efforts to combat drug trafficking," he added.
Clinton will join President Barack Obama and 33 other democratically-elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere at the April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain.
"The theme of the summit is securing our citizens' future by promoting human prosperity, energy security and environmental sustainability," Wood said.
The fifth Summit of the Americas will be Obama's first opportunity since he was sworn in January 20 to address most members of the Organization of American States (OAS).
In Washington on Tuesday, Clinton will "attend and address" the Haiti Donors? Conference, the State Department said in a statement.
Haiti and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said last Thursday they would convene the international donors conference for the tiny poverty-wracked nation.
The two said that "the conference will focus the international community's support on priority projects in the Haitian government's economic recovery plan, a two-year program aimed at generating 150,000 jobs."
It is aimed at promoting investments in sectors such as infrastructure and manufacturing, participants added.
Besides Clinton, the State Department said, Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Canada Minister of International Cooperation Beverly Oda are to attend.
Still other participants include OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, Open Society Institute Chairman George Soros, French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Rama Yade, International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato, and World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub.
The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is facing a serious economic crisis that led to bloody food riots last year. Preval has forecast a difficult 2009 amid the global financial downturn.
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