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7132: Haiti PM-Designate Urges on Aid (fwd)




From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

  Haiti PM-Designate Urges on Aid
 The Associated Press, Wed 21 Feb 2001

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)  Haiti's prime minister-designate on
Wednesday appealed to the  international community to restore suspended
aid and spare his impoverished country additional suffering.
 In one of the first in-depth interviews he's given since he was
nominated earlier this month by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
economist Jean-Marie Cherestal said the international community is
deserting Haiti at a time when the country needs it the most.
 ``I would like the international community to have a clearer
understanding of the political situation,'' Cherestal told The
Associated Press on Wednesday. ``The Haitian people cannot endure being
penalized.''
 Before winning re-election to the presidency in November, Aristide
steered his party to victory in more  than 80 percent of local and
legislative races, which the opposition charged were fraudulent. The
Organization of American States said the election was valid but said 10
first-round senate victories in May had been miscalculated.
 The international community supported the OAS assessment, with some
countries blocking aid, and  others threatening to withhold or reorient
desperately needed funds. Cherestal said the amount of aid  being
withheld was not proportionate to the allegation of miscalculations. The
dispute concerning the method of calculation doesn't justify the
enormity of the penalty,'' Cherestal said.
  Haiti is one of the least developed nations in the world. More than 90
percent of its development budget comes from foreign aid. Some $76
million of U.S. aid to Haiti will be channeled exclusively through
non-governmental agencies this year, while the European Union has
blocked nearly $70 million in assistance.  Some $200 million in World
Bank loans, pending since 1997, must be renegotiated. The
Inter-American       Development Bank also still has not disbursed some
$200 million in loans, approved last year.   While most of Haiti's
workforce is unemployed, economic growth has slumped below the rate of
population growth. Foreign investors are shying away, as Haiti's
reputation for lawlessness deepens.