January 14, 2010 / 9:58 PM / 10 years ago

France's Sarkozy calls for Haiti donor conference

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on Thursday for an international donor conference to help Haiti recover from its devastating earthquake.

Sarkozy said he would be discussing the idea with U.S. President Barack Obama, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“From this catastrophe, which follows so many others, we should make sure that it is a chance to get Haiti once and for all out of the curse it seems to have been stuck with for such a long time,” Sarkozy told reporters.

“This new tragedy can be the last if the international community mobilizes to help this country,” he added.

He said France would work closely with the European Union to send “very important means” to rebuild Haiti, but did not give any specific figures.

Sarkozy said he would visit Haiti in the coming weeks to meet President Rene Preval. France would also be sending two ships to Haiti, a water treatment center and new search teams.

France has also asked Air France, Air Caraibes and XL Airways to put on special flights to Haiti for families of victims so that they can visit the island as soon as the airport is open to civilian aircraft.

Reporting by Anna Willard; Editing by Noah Barkin

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