Today our Minister for South America, Hugo Swire, opened a new embassy – in Haiti. We are pleased to be back in Haiti after a gap of 47 years. We left when we could o longer have a reasonable relationship with the brutal regime of Papa Doc Duvalier. But now we are back there with the intention of building close and practical relations based on mutual respect.
We admire how Brazil has worked with Haiti to help it stabilise in 2004 and then support it after the earthquake of January 2010. Our Minister has visited the one of the two Brazilian battalions in Haiti as part of MINUSTAH because we recognise the excellent work they have done there.
Our support to Haiti has been more modest. We gave emergency support after the earthquake and have been helping the Haitians rebuild some of their intuitions. In April, our International Development Minister, Justine Greening, lead a successful visit to Haiti by the “Political Champions for Disaster Resilience”. She initiated UK work on the issue of Internally Displaced People following a moving visit to a camp in Port au Prince.
This is not just a story about Haiti and the UK though. Our opening of the new Embassy is part of our wider work of increasing our presence in the Americas. In Recife we opened our new consulate , in San Salvador a new embassy and a new one will open soon in Asuncion. And we look forward to work with our Brazil friends in all these new locations.