UN defends aid work in Haiti, praises US efforts

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GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations says its earthquake relief coordination is working well in Haiti, dismissing criticism over how the U.S. controls the Port-au-Prince airport.

U.N. spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs defended U.S. efforts, saying the airport wouldn’t be working without U.S. military help and crediting the U.S. with bringing great aid and expertise to the impoverished nation.

Her comments come after an agreement Monday to ensure that the U.S. would give aid flights priority in landing in the Haitian capital. The U.S. had been criticized for giving military and rescue aircraft top landing rights.

Byrs said the U.N. was in charge of coordinating aid. But she declined to say how its relationship with the U.S. worked, saying American missions didn’t require U.N. authorization.