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5406: OAS Mediator May Return To Haiti (fwd)
Thursday November 2 7:09 PM ET OAS Mediator May Return To Haiti
By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Organization of American States mediator
trying to break Haiti's political stalemate said Thursday he would
return to the Caribbean nation if there are real signs an agreement can
be worked out. ``I'm ready to consider going back and frankly I believe
both Haiti and the world need a solution,'' Luigi Einaudi, the OAS'
assistant secretary-general, told The Associated Press.Einaudi's left
Haiti Oct. 21, unable to resolve differences between opposition leaders
and representatives of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas
Family party. The major opposition parties are boycotting the
presidential election to protest what they consider to be
fraud in local and legislative balloting in May that gave Aristide's
party more than 80 percent of offices.The boycott would virtually assure
Aristide of a landslide victory over six little-known candidates.
Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected president, was toppled by a coup
in 1991. A U.S. led military force returned him to power in 1994.
The presidential election is scheduled for Nov. 26, but may be delayed
until December because of technical reasons.Einaudi said though no
formal negotiations have been held since he left Haiti, there have been
many talks among ``go-betweens.'' He said he would return to Haiti if he
received ``some very specific private assurances,'' though he
declined to elaborate. ``One of the reasons that I'm not willing to just
say that I'm going back next week is that I have to get a clear,
personal, direct sense that people are ready to reach an agreement and
it is not just a figment of the imagination or the result of tactical
maneuvers to avoid being blamed for a breakdown,'' he said.
Einaudi said Lavalas and the opposition have been able to find common
ground on concerns such as avoiding political violence, but differences
remain on the electoral issues. OAS election monitors agreed with
opposition claims that some seats won by Lavalas in May should
have gone to a runoff vote. The United States and European have
threatened to cut aid. Einaudi said ``the worst option'' would be for
Haiti to proceed with the election despite the boycott. He
said the international community would likely abandon the impoverished
nation.``We've worked very hard for many years now and basically we
can't see we've gotten anywhere, so there's no point in throwing good
money after bad,'' he said.