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6174: Clinton urges Aristide to resolve Haiti's electoral impasse (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Clinton urges Aristide to resolve Haiti's  electoral impasse
 December 7, 2000   Web posted at: 10:51 AM EST (1551 GMT)

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- In a personal letter, U.S. President Bill
 has urged President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resolve Haiti's
  impasse but stopped short of congratulating him on his controversial
  the U.S. Embassy said Thursday.   Haiti's Senate president, Sen. Yvon
Neptune, on Wednesday revealed the  existence of the letter, dated
December 1, two days after the electoral council  confirmed Aristide's
victory in November 26 elections. Neptune said the letter addressed
Aristide as the "president-elect," which he claimed showed Clinton's
tacit recognition of the legitimacy of Aristide's  re-election.  But
U.S. Embassy spokesman Dan Whitman said Clinton did not address the
election and did not signal a change in U.S. policy. He refused to
release the   letter, saying it was "privileged correspondence."  Still,
he added: "The United States together with the rest of the
international  community has made it known to the Haitian authorities
that their failure to
 address well-documented election irregularities puts into question
their commitment to democracy."  Until they address them, some $ 90
million in annual U.S. aid will be channeled  through private agencies.
The international community has condemned a flawed count in May
legislative  elections. After the Nov. 26 elections, Aristide's party
holds all but one seat in the  27-member Senate and 80 percent of seats
in the House of Assembly.  Charging fraud, all major opposition parties
boycotted the presidential election, which Aristide had been expected to
win regardless. But there was a low turnout  and alleged stuffing of
ballot boxes which has the opposition challenging             Aristide's
mandate.  The U.S. State Department said turnout was "low" and
independent Haitian radio   stations reported a small minority of
Haitians voted. But the electoral council, which opposition parties
charge is loaded with Aristide supporters, claimed 60.5  percent voted.
The head of a Caribbean Community monitoring mission, former  St. Lucia
Premier John Compton, put turnout at 15-20 percent.  The 17-party
opposition alliance Convergence estimated turnout at 5 percent and   is
urging Haitians to mobilize for a "peaceful alternative" to what they
allege are Aristide's plans to restore a dictatorship in the troubled
Caribbean nation.  Aristide became Haiti's first freely elected
president in 1990 elections following a  popular uprising that ended
nearly 200 years of dictatorship. After only seven  months in office,
Aristide ousted in a bloody army coup. Three years later, over
Republican Party objections, Clinton sent 20,000 U.S. troops to oust the
military,  restore Aristide and halt a flood of Haitian boat people to
  Aristide, constitutionally barred from serving consecutive five-year
  reluctantly relinquished power to his protege, President Rene Preval,
  December 1995 elections. The U.S. invasion ended military killings
estimated at some 4,000 people. Aristide disbanded the army though some
political assassinations and intimidation   continue.  But the U.S.
intervention and a subsequent U.N. mission failed to improve living
standards in a country where two-thirds of the 8 million people are
illiterate and   unemployed as democracy failed to take root and
international aid steadily dried     up.
  Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended closing the
  mission, saying it was useless considering the government's