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#5085: Albright,Ministers Meet about Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Wednesday September 13 11:27 AM ET
Albright, Ministers Meet about Haiti 
 By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer 

 UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met
  Wednesday with diplomats from Argentina, Canada, Chile, France and
 Venezuela to pressure Haiti to strengthen democratic procedures in
 advance of presidential and legislative elections in November.
 The Clinton administration already has vowed to impose economic
sanctions on Haiti if it does not change its ways. The group convened by
Albright calls itself ``Friends of Haiti.'' Meeting with her were
Foreign  Ministers Lloyd Axworthy of Canada and Soledad Alvear of Chile.
High-ranking Argentine, French and Venezuelan diplomats attended, as
well. Last week, Luis Lauredo, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of
American States, accused Haitian authorities of an unwillingness to
address the ``serious irregularities and deficiencies'' that he said
were   evident during parliamentary runoff elections in May.

The runoff, along with balloting in June and July, resulted in
overwhelming victories for the Lavalas Family party of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is expected to win re-election to the
presidency in November. ``In the absence of meaningful change,'' Lauredo
said, ``the United States will not support the presidential and
legislative elections of Nov. 26, financially or through observer
missions,'' he said. Lauredo said the U.S. government would send nearly
all bilateral assistance to the people of Haiti through private and
nongovernmental organizations, thus bypassing the Haitian government.

A former Haitian senator, Paul Denis, of the former parliamentary
minority Struggling People's Organization, hailed ``the evolution'' of
the U.S. position and said it would support the struggle of the
 Haitian people against a government that wants to establish a
dictatorship. Albright, in what was her last official speech to the
United Nations, said Tuesday ``democracy is the one  road we can all
walk down together.'' She also pledged ``to serve the cause of
international progress and individual liberty not only for as long
 as I am in office, but for as long as I am