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Donors meet in Montreal to plan Haiti aid

International donors meet in Montreal Monday to discuss how best help rebuild quake-stricken Haiti. British NGO, Oxfam, has called for cancellation of debt while the new UN chief in Haiti has called for "more manpower and vehicles".

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AFP- International donors will work with Haiti to map out key priorities for rebuilding the

quake-hit nation at an emergency meeting in Montreal on Monday, Canada's foreign minister said.

Countries and organisations at the meeting will also try to set the date and place of an eventual full-scale donors' conference where a more detailed plan will be worked out, Lawrence Cannon said Sunday.

"Together with the government of Haiti, we need to roll up our sleeves and begin to lay the groundwork for the enormous task ahead," Cannon said in a televised press conference.

"This is not a pledging conference. Proceeding along those lines as emergency relief remains the top priority would be, we believe, premature," he added.
   

"So my objectives for this meeting are simple but necessary. We must and we need to arrive at a common understanding and commitment on certain basic principles of responsibility, accountability, and long-term engagement.

"We need to identify with the Haitian government key priorities in order to define a road map of the tasks ahead. This will lay the foundation for a successful international conference on Haitian reconstruction in the months ahead."

He added: "At the end of tomorrow's conference we would like to have a date and a place for the donors' conference."

Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive is expected at the closed-door talks in Montreal along with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and other officials.

It will also bring together Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Uruguay along with officials from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and several non-governmental organizations will also be represented.

Canada meanwhile announced that the death toll for Canadian nationals in the January 12 earthquake had reached 19 while the number missing had decreased to 213.
 

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