US Senate calls for Haiti debt relief
Washington: The US Senate has unanimously approved a resolution calling for easing Haiti's debt burden to help with reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastating January 12 earthquake.
The measure directs US representatives to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international lenders to act to relieve Haiti's external debt obligations and calls for future aid to be in the form of grants, not loans.
The "Haiti Recovery Act" also urges President Barack Obama's administration to support the creation of an international trust fund for Haiti to support investment in infrastructure including the development of electric grids, roads, water and sanitation facilities, and reforestation initiatives.
"The people of Haiti face a long and difficult road ahead," said Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, a lead author of the measure. "But today, the United States Senate made it clear that they will not have to walk that road alone."
Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, crafted the resolution with Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"The Senate will continue to assess measures that will help Haiti and develop greater stability and hopefully new opportunities. Dealing with Haiti's crippling debt burden is an important initial step," said Lugar.