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Cablegate: Swedish Relief Experts Praise U.S. Efforts in Haiti

VZCZCXRO2251
OO RUEHIK
DE RUEHSM #0064/01 0430840
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 120840Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5106
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 0018
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE PRIORITY 0002
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO PRIORITY 0016
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0355

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STOCKHOLM 000064

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR HAITI EARTHQUAKE TASK FORCE, USAID/W, DCHA/OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR EAID ECON PGOV PREL PREF HA SW
SUBJECT: SWEDISH RELIEF EXPERTS PRAISE U.S. EFFORTS IN HAITI

REF: A. STOCKHOLM 53
B. STOCKHOLM 38
C. STOCKHOLM 21
D. STOCKHOLM 19
E. STOCKHOLM 17

STOCKHOLM 00000064 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: On February 8, the Ambassador met with
Swedish relief effort experts from government, academia, and
civil society to discuss coordination of assistance efforts
in Haiti. The Swedes are currently the sixth or seventh
largest international donor to emergency relief efforts in
Haiti (ref B, C, D, and E) and have sent police officers and
prison officials as reinforcements (ref A). The participants
praised U.S. relief efforts in Haiti and underscored Swedish
support for aid in Haiti in the near-future. However, no
long-term bilateral assistance from Sweden will be allocated,
according to participants from the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation
Agency (SIDA). End Summary.

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U.S. MILITARY "POLITE AND WELL-DISCIPLINED"
--------

2. (SBU) On February 8, Ambassador Matthew Barzun hosted
Swedish relief experts for coffee at the residence to learn
about Swedish perspectives on assistance efforts in Haiti.
The Ambassador opened the discussion by asking participants
to share their opinions of international aid efforts to Haiti
in general and U.S. assistance in particular. All of the
participants praised U.S. efforts in general, and Swedish
National Radio journalist Vladislav Savic, who recently
returned from Haiti, told the group that without U.S.
assistance at the airport, the entire relief mission would
have been a disaster. He added that he was impressed with
the performance of the U.S. military, calling the soldiers he
encountered "polite and well-disciplined" compared to the UN
troops on the scene, many of whom he called "rude and
impolite."

--------
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND LEGAL AID
--------

3. (SBU) Michael Lindval, Deputy Director, the Department for
Security Policy, Humanitarian and Conflict Issues at the
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said that many European
colleagues want to portray the Haiti relief effort as "poorly
done," and needing "European management to be successful."
According to Lindval, this is simply not true. He commented
that International Relief Director John Holms told him that
the U.S.-UN cooperation was working well, and that he was
afraid the U.S. would leave Haiti "earlier than it should."
Lindval also noted that Haiti will need engagement from the
international community for 10-20 years, but he said that
Sweden did not have sufficient long-term interests in Haiti
to provide such support.

4. (SBU) Christian Ahlund, Director of International Legal
Assistance Consortium (ILAC), an international legal aid
consortium with 11 offices and over 100 employees in Haiti,
emphasized the need to quickly rebuild the legal system. He
pointed out that the Ministry of Justice was "up and running
again out of a container." Ahlund also mentioned that USAID
is interested in financing his organization's effort and
called for SIDA to provide bridge funding until then.

5. (SBU) Karin Rohlin, Regional Team Director for Latin
America, SIDA, said that SIDA has no plans for any bilateral
aid programs with Haiti because it was not identified as a
priority country in SIDA's recent budgetary allocations.
When pressed by the Ambassador, Rohlin said that SIDA was
likely to provide bridge funding to ILAC, Ahlund's
organization. "We will try to include some reconstruction
help in our humanitarian assistance," Rohlin said.

--------
A CALL TO ACTION
--------

6. (SBU) Mats Lundahl, Stockholm School of Economics
Professor and Haiti expert, pointed out that Haiti has been
struggling since 1864 to lift itself out of poverty, and that
not much has happened. The international community should
not expect too much too soon, he opined. With the right
effort, he speculated, this disaster might actually be a
turning point for Haiti if the international community and
the Haitians themselves can focus on moving forward and
eliminating the "corruption-rife" society that existed
before. "But sometimes history can be an obstacle to
change," he pointed out.

7. (SBU) James Foote, Program Coordinator and Advisor for
Humanitarian Action, the Swedish Red Cross, ended the
discussion by reminding participants that donors need to
ensure that assistance reaches throughout the population and
does not get disbursed through political "power games."
Foote called for priority assistance to increase government
capacity, new housing construction and post-operative care
for the estimated 4,000 Haitian amputees. He also encouraged
the Haitian diaspora to return to their country to assist in
the relief effort. Foote said, "We need to stop flying
people out and help them there."
BARZUN

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