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Interview: L. America should strengthen cooperation, says UN official

04-02-2011 16:40 BJT

SANTIAGO, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Latin America must face challenges as a united force to tackle the region's most pressing problems, UN deputy secretary general Heraldo Munoz said Thursday.

In an interview with Xinhua, Munoz also said the region "must face the United States together on relevant issues such as the free trade, the immigration problems and other aspects."

If more efforts could be done to enhance regional cooperation on issues of economic inequality and strengthening democracy, inter-American relations could move ahead, he said.

Meanwhile, as regional director of the UN Development Program (UNDP), Munoz said the priority of the UNDP was to promote democracy in Latin American and the Caribbean.

"Although there has been a large advance in electoral democracy, the quality of democracy has to be improved," he said.

The UNDP's programs focus on reducing economic, social and gender inequality as well as territorial and ethnic problems, which still exist in the region.

Munoz also applauded actions that Latin American countries had carried out in Haiti after a devastating earthquake last year.

Promises of aid by Brazil, Colombia and Chile were fulfilled quickly.

He said the United Nations would continue to help Haiti's reconstruction even though the outcome of the presidential elections has been delayed.

The UN official said that despite the earthquake, a cholera epidemic and the political crisis, there has been advances in Haiti thanks to the collaboration of the international community.

He added the number of people living in temporary shelters in Haiti had been reduced to 630,000 people from 1.6 million.

The cholera epidemic has now been put under control and 95 percent of the children who lost schooling have returned to schools, Munoz said.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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