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#1709: Haiti govt refuses all EU aid for elections (fwd)


Haiti govt refuses all EU aid for elections 
 04:59 p.m Jan 04, 2000 Eastern 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Haitian government has decided not
to accept any European Union funding for its March elections, the
European Commission delegation in Haiti said on Tuesday. A conflict
erupted last week between the two parties concerning EU funding for the
printing of ballot papers for the March elections. Haitians are
scheduled to vote March 19 in long-delayed  national legislative and
municipal elections, the impoverished  Caribbean nation's first in
nearly three years. The Haitian government chose a Haitian company,
Imprimerie Deschamps, to carry out the ballot printing work. The EU  
questioned the choice, giving rise to accusations in local media       
that they intend to force the choice of a European company. European
Commission representative Guy Petitpierre said in a  statement that the
Commission regretted the ``climate of tension which has arisen regarding
the European Union.''  He noted that the commission questioned the
choice of Imprimerie Deschamps solely because another company --        
which happened to be European -- had offered to do the same           
work for almost $600,000 less.  The Commission suggested that the
Haitian government, rather than issuing a new tender for bids, should
begin direct  negotiations with the companies that submitted bids on the
last one. If all else failed, the Commission suggested it could allot
the funding to another aspect of the electoral process.`To the great
regret of the delegation, these two solutions were rejected by the
government, which also decided to do without the assistance of the
European Union for the financing of the  electoral process,''
Petitpierre said. The EU had pledged about US$3 million in election aid. 
 Haitian government officials were not immediately available for