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Sarkozy to Visit Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti

  • Lisa Bryant

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to tour earthquake-ravaged Haiti on Wednesday. The French leader is expected to announce a substantial aid package to help Haiti rebuild.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Haiti will be the first by a French president to the former French colony since Haiti became a republic more than two centuries ago.

The French leader is expected to offer what Mr. Sarkozy's office calls "extremely significant proposals" to Haiti, when he meets with his counterpart, Rene Preval. News reports say Mr. Sarkozy will also announce the cancellation of Haiti's $77-million debt to France.

France was among the first nations to send aid to Haiti when the devastating earthquake struck last month, killing at least 217,000 people.

Soon afterward, Mr. Sarkozy expressed France's sorrow and dismay and vowed to do more.

The French president called the earthquake a national tragedy that demanded compassion and solidarity.

Mr. Sarkozy's visit will follow that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who pledged $11.5 million on Tuesday for aid and a temporary headquarters for the Haitian government.

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