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#4673: Japan reportedly suspends aid to Haiti amid elections controversy (fwd)


Japan reportedly suspends aid to Haiti amid elections controversy
July 22, 2000  Web posted at: 3:37 PM EDT (1937 GMT)

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Japan has suspended its aid to Haiti amid
threats from the international community to withhold aid to the poor
Caribbean  country if it does not hold new elections, the private Radio
Metropole reported Saturday.  "All financial assistance projects have
been suspended" temporarily, "because of violent demonstrations and the
ambiguity of the future of Haiti," Japanese charge d'affaires Hisanobu
Hasama said on the radio. Since 1995, Japan has allocated about $60
million in agriculture and health aid, as  well as in support of Haiti's
fledgling police force. This year, it earmarked $13.5 million. The
international community has poured billions of dollars into Haiti since
U.S.  troops intervened in 1994 to end three years of repressive
military-backed rule  and restore the elected government of former
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.The United States alone has contributed
some dlrs 750 million for economic and institutional reconstruction. 
 Now the European Union, the United States and Canada -- Haiti's biggest
donors -- are threatening to withhold aid if the results from the May 21
local and  parliamentary elections and July 9 run-off voting are not
revised. Haiti hasn't had a legislature since January 1999, and about
$500 million in assistance have been held up pending the installation of
a new parliament. Aristide's Lavalas Family party swept the vast
majority of the races and the  opposition cried foul. The international
community questioned the method used to calculate first-round senate
winners, saying 10 senate races should have been held in July 9
second-round balloting. The electoral council said Aristide's party     
had won 16 of the 17 contested senate seats in the first round.       
Violence has accompanied the electoral process at every step. Some 15
people, mostly from the opposition, were killed before the first round.
 Since then several street demonstrations have shut down the capital and
more  than 40 opposition militants and candidates have been detained.
Two Lavalas Family militants have been killed and a dozen people wounded
in clashes. Unidentified gunmen shot and wounded a provincial election
official Tuesday.  Two opposition demonstrations, calling for the
annulment of the results and the resignation of President Rene Preval,
were held peacefully in two provincial towns last week. But Friday, an
opposition march in Leogane, about 21 miles (35 kilometers) west of the
capital, was called off after alleged Lavalas Family partisans shot
above the heads of the crowd. Last week, "considering the disturbance of
public order and almost daily demonstrations," France put Haiti on a
list of 33 countries, including Sierre  Leone and Algeria, which it
strongly advised its citizens not to visit. At least 90 percent of
Haiti's development budget comes from foreign sources. "It's obvious we
cannot meet our investment needs" without foreign assistance,Haiti's
Planning Minister Anthony Dessources told reporters Friday. Without
it,"Haiti cannot hang on very long," he said. But, if aid is suppressed,
"we'll have to cope," Dessources said, echoing his  government's
determination not to revise the election results.