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8144: Organization of American States mission to Haiti fails (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Organization of American States mission to Haiti fails

The Associated Press
5/31/01 9:38 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- The head of the Organization of American
States failed to break a yearlong stalemate between the government and the
opposition, saying the time isn't right for an agreement.

Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria concluded his three-day visit Thursday in
the latest attempt to bring the two sides together since disputed
parliamentary races a year ago, which were won by President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's Lavalas Family party.

Hemispheric leaders have rebuked Haiti for the way it calculated the
election results, and the Summit of Americas in April asked the Organization
of American States to visit.

After meeting with Aristide, members of the Lavalas Family party and of the
opposition, Gaviria said the political environment "is not good enough for a
political settlement."

Earlier attempts to bring the 15-member opposition alliance, Convergence, to
the negotiating table with Lavalas have ended in failure, with each side
accusing the other of intransigence

"We are very worried about the total lack of trust between the parties,"
said Gaviria.

However, Gaviria said he planned to continue mediation efforts.

Aristide was re-elected to a five-year term as president in November,
capping a more than 80 percent sweep of elected offices by Lavalas.

Convergence demands a rerun of the entire electoral process, which it has
denounced as fraudulent. However, the ruling party is only willing to
discuss the contested first-round Senate races.

The OAS has said that 10 first round Senate victories by Aristide's
candidates were miscalculated. As a result, millions of dollars in
desperately needed foreign aid have been blocked until results are

As a condition for talks, Convergence has also demanded the release of two
Aristide opponents who were arrested last week.