Obama holds first meeting with Haitian leader

Haitian President Michel Martelly speaks to the media during a photo opportunity with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he’s encouraged by progress Haiti is making to clear away what he calls “political roadblocks” and hold overdue elections.

He adds that U.S. and international aid that flowed to Haiti after a devastating 2010 earthquake has helped the country turn a corner. Obama says Haiti’s economy is growing, security is improving, infrastructure is being rebuilt and earthquake rubble has been removed.

Obama commented at the start of an Oval Office meeting Thursday with Haitian President Michel Martelly.

Martelly’s government last month took an important step toward organizing legislative and local elections that are two years overdue with the publication of an election law that attempts to resolve infighting between Martelly and members of parliament.

Haiti’s electoral council expects this month to announce a date for elections.

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