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#3125: U.N. chief condemns escalating violence in Haiti (fwd)


Posted at 11:29 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 4, 2000 
 U.N. chief condemns escalating violence in Haiti

 UNITED NATIONS -- (AP) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the
 slaying of Haiti's most prominent journalist and called for quick
elections to help stem a recent surge in deadly attacks, a U.N.
spokesman said Tuesday. ``In the secretary-general's view, these events
underscore the urgent need to re-establish democratic institutions in
Haiti,'' spokesman David Wimhurst said. ``He encourages the government
to hold the planned elections in order to meet constitutional deadlines
for the seating of Parliament,'' the spokesman said. President Rene
Preval had called legislative and municipal elections after
 dissolving Parliament in January 1999 to end a political impasse that
had paralyzed Haiti's government since disputed elections in 1997.
 Two rounds of voting were originally set for November and December,
then delayed to March 19 and April 30 -- and delayed again. Last month,
Haiti's electoral council rescheduled the vote for April 9 and May 21 --
but Preval challenged their authority to set new dates. Haitian
officials say April 9 has now been shelved, and no new date has been
set. Last week, nine people died in the Caribbean nation's capital,
Port-au-Prince, and on Monday two gunmen shot and killed journalist Jean
Dominique as he pulled into the courtyard of his radio station for his
morning newscast. In Paris, the director-general of U.N. Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, Koichiro Matsuura, said
Dominique's murder ``will distress all those who believe in Haiti's
democratic future and all who fight for freedom of speech.''