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Clinton: More expected from Haitian leaders

By Paula Newton, CNN
  • As quake anniversary approaches, coordinated response lacking, she says
  • "There has to be a more forcused approach towards problem-solving"
  • U.S. frustrated with attempts to resolve election crisis, Clinton says

Ottawa (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea of halting direct aid to Haiti in light of election turmoil there, but she warned Haitian leaders that the international community expects more from them.

At a joint news conference with her Canadian and Mexican counterparts, Clinton said Haiti was discussed at length.

"As we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, there hasn't been the kind of coordinated, coherent response from the government of Haiti that is called for," Clinton said.

She added, "We understand that the government itself was badly damaged. Individuals were traumatized, but there has to be a greater effort, and there has to be a more focused approach towards problem-solving."

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A proposal by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, called for a halt to direct aid to Haiti's government. Leahy helps oversee aid appropriations for Haiti. Clinton conceded that the American government was becoming increasingly frustrated with Haiti's efforts to try to resolve the electoral crisis.

But Clinton said that suspending any aid would serve only to punish the Haitian people.

Clinton was attending a low-key meeting in the quiet village of Wakefield, Quebec, with the foreign ministers of Canada and Mexico. She said all three countries would be offering more technical assistance to help Haiti sort through its election controversy.

Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council said Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady and law professor, came out on top with 31.37% of the votes, and Jude Celestin, the government-backed candidate, won 22.48%. Musician Michel Martelly was in third with 21.84%. A runoff between Manigat and Celestin is set for January 16. However, allegations of election fraud have ripped through the country, sparking protests and violence.