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6531: US deal may provide aid to Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 US deal may provide aid to Haiti  By Richard Chacón, Globe Staff,
This story ran on page A08 of the Boston Globe on 1/3/2001.

 MIAMI - A new agreement between Haiti and the United States is raising
hopes for a better relationship between the two countries and even the
possibility that the Caribbean nation might soon receive $600 million in
withheld international aid. But there are also doubts over whether
Haiti's president-elect,  Jean-Bertrand Aristide, will make good on his
pledges to include more opposition members in his government and whether
such an agreement will  hold up when George W. Bush takes office Jan.
   Under the terms of the eight-point agreement, which was announced by
the White House late last week and quietly negotiated over two days
last  month between Aristide and representatives of the Clinton
administration, Haiti will implement several political, judicial and
economic reforms, including:

 Rapidly correcting the problems associated with May's legislative
elections, in which several disputed seats were given to Aristide

 Creating a new provisional electoral council in consultation with

 Increasing cooperation with the United States to combat
 and money laundering.

 Nominating respected officials for senior positions within the Haitian
National Police and enhancing the independence of the judicial system.

 Strengthening human rights through a commission of the Organization of
 American States.

 Initiating discussions with international financial institutions about
budget and economic reforms.

 The agreement was seen largely as a conciliatory gesture by Aristide,
who will begin a second term as president in February. ''I confirm my
commitment to the points made, confident that they will help  strengthen
the ties between our two nations where democracy and peace  will
flourish,'' Aristide wrote on Dec. 27 to President Clinton.
  While administration officials praised the agreement with the new
Haitian leader as progress toward creating democracy, other Haiti
specialists were less optimistic, saying that Aristide would have to
take dramatic steps  immediately to prove his commitment.
 ''Aristide needs to make room for opposition voices in his government,'
said Luigi R. Einaudi, assistant secretary general of the OAS, who for
months has been unable to broker a similar agreement between Aristide's
Lavalas Party and opposition groups. ''The opposition is missing in this
agreement, and that's what's needed to ensure stability.''
    The new agreement was initiated by Clinton, who in a letter dated
Dec. 1, asked Aristide to accept a visit by former national security
adviser Anthony Lake to discuss ways to strengthen ties between Haiti
and the  United States. It remains unclear, however, whether the
agreement, which  comes three weeks before the end of the Clinton term,
will carry over into  the administration of President-elect George W.
 For his part, Bush may find Haiti a thorny issue, especially when it
comes  to controlling the flow of refugees from that country who often
land in  Florida. Part of the new agreement calls for negotiating terms
for repatriating illegal Haitian immigrants.
 One diplomatic source said Aristide's willingness to negotiate an
agreement was driven by concerns that his government be taken seriously
by the international community so that it can receive $600 million in
aid  that has been withheld because of questions over last year's
parliamentary elections.
 Opposition groups in Haiti were not receptive to their
president-elect's  new agreement with Washington. At least three parties
have said they will  try to create an alternative government before
Aristide takes office.All of the major opposition parties boycotted last
November's presidential  elections, citing widespread fraud by
Aristide's supporters. The former  Roman Catholic priest received over
90 percent of the vote in balloting that was marked by scattered
incidents of violence.