by Staff Writers
Vatican City (AFP) Nov 22, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI and Haitian President Michel Martelly discussed Thursday the state of relief efforts after a 2010 earthquake in the impoverished island nation that killed at least 250,000 people.
The Vatican said in a statement that the two discussed "the particular contribution of the Church, in terms of educational, social and charitable institutions, particularly after the earthquake that hit the Haitian people."
They agreed on the need for a "harmonious development" of Haitian society.
Martelly, a Catholic like 80 percent of Haitians, was visiting with his wife and four children on his first tour of Europe since being elected last year.
The ex-musician known as "Sweet Micky" gave the leader of the world's Catholics a brightly-coloured drum that the pope gave a playful tap on.
Martelly was due later on Thursday to meet Jose Graziano da Silva, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and will then travel on to Brussels and Strasbourg for a series talks with European leaders.
In September, Martelly said his country was in dire need of more international aid.
Haiti is still "a country where everything is to be done," he said.
The country was hit again last month when Hurricane Sandy swept through, killing 29 people and leaving thousands homeless.
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