February 3rd, 2010
12:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton asked 'to assume a leadership role' for U.N. in Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/03/art.clintonhaiti.gi.jpg caption="Bill Clinton was tasked Wednesday by the United Nations with overseeing aid and future reconstruction efforts in Haiti."]
United Nations (CNN) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon handed former U.S. President Bill Clinton additional responsibility Wednesday for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, charging him with overseeing aid efforts as well as later reconstruction there.

"You have demonstrated extremely important leadership," Ban told Clinton, who is already the United Nations' special envoy to Haiti.

Ban asked Clinton "to assume a leadership role in coordinating international aid efforts, from emergency response to new construction of Haiti."

Clinton will work with the Haitian government and the people of Haiti in recovery and reconstruction efforts, according to a statement released by Clinton's U.N. office. He will help coordinate the work of U.N. agencies and other international partners in Haiti, including government donors, private investors, and non-governmental organizations, the statement said.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished nation January 12, devastating parts of the country. A spokesman for Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said Wednesday that the death toll had topped 200,000, nearing the 230,000 in 14 countries who died in the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Clinton joined forces with former President George H.W. Bush to raise money for relief from that disaster.

President Barack Obama asked Clinton and former President George W. Bush to do the same for Haiti.

"I cannot find any other better suited leader than yourself, Mr. President," Ban told Clinton at the United Nations Wednesday morning.

Clinton thanked Ban. "I will do the best I can," he said.

"I think the challenges are great; we still have a lot of emergency problems to deal with," he said. "Almost all the infrastructure (is) gone there, so the trick is to get the Haitian people back where they can stop living from day to day and start living week to week or month to month."

Promising to do what he can, the former president added, "The leaders there want to build a functioning modern state for the first time."

Updated: 6:10 p.m.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Haiti • United Nations
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Is good to see the Ex President getting involved over there, though I think you can say this is arguably the first time he seen such a travesty that his Organization is paying off. That's nice to see.

    February 3, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. beyoucece


    February 3, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Of course Bill Clinton is the best person for the job, he's well respected around the World, but this is a very difficult task and still requires everyones help, regardless of any political affiliation.

    February 3, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. ted

    Just so long as George Bush doesn't get involved, the whole effort will go fine. We don't need another 'heckuva job Brownie' fiasco.

    February 3, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Marc in Virginia

    Lock up your daughters and wives! Slick Willy is in town.

    February 3, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Hmmmm.. wasn't W. there as well? Guess his leadership skills are not as impressive as slick Willie's. They've probably got W. digging through the rubble with a shovel or something more suited to his limited abilities and intellect. Have a nice day!

    February 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. D.D.

    Poweful man.

    February 3, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. D.D.

    Compassionate, at times, and powerful man- the correct man for the time.

    February 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Doraine Gordon

    Good for President Clinton! When a Democrat leaves office they always go onto do other great things for our country. Not so for the Republicans. They don't do anything constructive. I think that should tell us something. Could it be that we are so happy to see them leave office that we never want to see or hear from them again? I know the Bushes worked with Clinton some but only because he wanted them to. I don't see any Republican doing anything on their own to help make our World a better place. They ae too busy trying to ruin the Democrats! It's a shame!!

    February 3, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Well, the UN always ends up looking to the US to get a job done.

    February 3, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. John

    Clinton asked 'to assume a leadership role' for U.N. in Haiti

    er, where's GWB? As an ex-president wasn't he supposed to be assisting with this as well?

    Perhaps W's out somewhere playing beach volleyball or cutting brush or something like that...

    February 3, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Matthew

    Best President ever and thats what American leadership about.

    February 3, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Marlee Stone

    I wonder where he will put the pretty women who don't have houses...

    February 3, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Bob in Pa

    Ol' Ban better wacth out, Billy boy will be aiming for his seat soon.

    February 3, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Um.............o.k..................

    The funniest thing is the picture. Like he's going to be on the ground directing people where to place containers and boxes. Give me a break.

    Those soldiers are probably thinking, "Out of our way so we can do our job!"

    February 3, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. duffey

    This man has redeemed himself for his previous and self indulgent behaviors. Good going Bill

    February 3, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. BeverlyinNC

    We could use the influence Bill Clinton has to get Haiti back on its feet and with a credible functioning government.
    You are certainly not going to see any Republican offering to help restore Haiti. As SC Senator Lindsey Graham said right after the earthquake there – "they are just black people and that's the only reason President Obama is sending aid".
    Republicans must share the same racist gene since it was President Bush who totally ignored the predominantly black neighborhood in New Orleans for more than a week. Bush went on vacation to his ranch during Hurricane Katrina.
    Republican compassion for People beneath their elitist class is simply disgusting. And they supposedly have "values"?
    Thank you President Clinton and President Carter for spending your time dedicated to humanitarian causes. Democrats have always led the way in progressive social policy and programs to help the average hard-working American People.

    February 3, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. gary davis harbor oregon


    February 3, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. melibu

    I bet Hillary suggested Bill for the role to keep him busy and out of her hair! LOL

    February 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Dave

    Come on Ban, tell the truth. The Clinton have been all over haiti for years for their drug trade.

    February 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Bubba is up tp the task. Democrats in power get things done.....at least humanitarilly.

    February 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |