WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama meets Wednesday with his Haitian counterpart, Rene Preval, who has come to Washington to thank Americans for the massive outpouring of earthquake aid and to outline what still is needed.
Preval saw Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday, on a mission that will prove critical to Haiti's rebuilding.
After the Oval Office meeting, Obama and Preval will make statements in the White House Rose Garden to a gathering of members of Congress, Haitian-American community leaders and people and organizations involved in the earthquake relief effort.
Preval has said he plans to personally thank Obama for the private and public U.S. aid that flooded into the country after the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 230,000 people.
Among items on Preval's agenda were reconstruction, job creation and a moderation of the amount of donated food, which he said could hurt local producers.
As Preval was in Washington, the U.S. military hospital ship Comfort has lifted anchor off Haiti for the return cruise to Baltimore, Md. The Comfort has been stationed off the country's coast for seven weeks, treating earthquake victims.
The U.S. military also is scaling back in Haiti, where Comfort treated more than 800 patients.
The total number of U.S. forces in Haiti is expected to drop to about 8,000 in coming days, from a peak of around 20,000 on Feb. 1.
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