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Haitian president to arrive on state visit

TAIPEI--Haiti's President Michel Joseph Martelly is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan Monday on a four-day state visit, during which the two countries will sign a joint communique and a new agreement, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Martelly will lead a 30-member delegation that will include Haiti's Minister of Foreign Affairs Duly Brutus, Minister of Commerce and Industry Wilson Laleau, and Minster of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Thomas Jacques, the foreign ministry said.

The president's visit is aimed at advancing ties between the two countries and expressing gratitude to Taiwan for its relief and reconstruction assistance in the wake of a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the Caribbean country in January 2010.

It will be Martelly's first visit to Taiwan since he assumed office as president in 2011. On Tuesday, he will meet with President Ma Ying-jeou and the two leaders will sign a joint communique on promoting bilateral ties, Taiwanese foreign affairs officials said.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lin, meanwhile, will meet with his Haitian counterpart Brutus on Tuesday and they will sign an agreement on assistance to increase Haiti's rice production, the officials said.

Martelly, along with Haitian business representatives, on Tuesday will attend a bilateral investment seminar, organized jointly by the foreign ministry and the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association, the officials said.

The delegation is also scheduled to travel to the central city of Taichung, where they will visit the 921 earthquake park, the Central Taiwan Science Park and the Taichung District Agriculture Research and Extension Station, the ministry said.

Also on the delegation is First Lady Sophia Martelly, who is known for her dedication to the protection of women's rights and children's care, the ministry said, adding that she will meet with Taiwan's Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta and will visit the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. The Haitian delegation's trip to Taiwan is important to bilateral relations because it has been 12 years since a Haitian president visited Taiwan, the ministry said. The last Haitian leader to visit Taiwan was President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who came here in July 2002 during President Chen Shui-bian's first term in office.

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