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Ambassadors' panel at Mar-a-Lago: Restoring Haiti will be one of the biggest challenges for the developed world

PALM BEACH, FL Senator Bill Nelson (left) moderates a panel discussion among ambassadors of Afghanistan, Said T. Jawad, Egypt, H.E. Sameh Shouky and Mexico, Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana at The Mar-a-Lago Club. Ambassadors, dignitaries, government, civic and philanthropic leaders from around the world who support the American Red Cross will convene in Palm Beach for the 53rd Annual International Red Cross Ball on January 30.

By Adam Playford

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Posted: Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010

PALM BEACH — A panel of foreign diplomats said Saturday that rebuilding Haiti after the recent devastating earthquake will be a huge, multi-year challenge requiring sustained international effort.

The panel was moderated by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and consisted of the ambassadors to the United States from Afghanistan, Egypt and Mexico. It was at Mar-a-Lago as part of the annual International Red Cross Ball, which was scheduled Saturday night .

Haiti is going to be "one of the biggest challenges facing the developed world," Nelson said after the event, particularly in trying to "give them the help with which the Haitian government and people can rebuild their society."

Bluntly and in detail, the ambassadors spoke about the challenges their individual countries face: the drug war in Mexico, building a security force in Afghanistan and the regional tensions surrounding Egypt and the Middle East.

They also praised President Obama, saying his administration has turned around the United States' reputation in their countries.

"There is a general sense in Latin America that the United States for quite some time has forgotten about the western hemisphere," said Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana, the Mexican ambassador.

Now, that's changing, he said. "There's a good deal of goodwill."

In Kabul, "the United States is the second most popular country, after India," according to a recent poll, said the ambassador from Afghanistan, Said T. Jawad. "We are very grateful for your sons and daughters to go to Afghanistan, to fight for Afghanistan."


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