[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

8804: PRNewswire on GOH statement (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Monday July 30, 2:35 pm Eastern Time
Press Release
SOURCE: The Government of Haiti

Terrorists Attack Haitian Police; Disbanded Military Attempts to Delay End to
Political Stalemate in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Government officials said
today that weekend attacks on the Haitian National Police Academy and Petion
Ville Police Station by armed assailants will not deter the government of
Haiti from moving forward in their efforts with the OAS (Organization of
American States) and CARICOM to resolve the political crisis and bring a
resumption of desperately needed international aid to Haiti.

Late Friday, July 27, and continuing early Saturday, men with heavy weapons,
dressed in military uniforms and who clearly identified themselves as former
members of the disbanded Haitian army, attacked several police facilities. In
one attack, the gunmen sprayed machinegun fire on a police academy dormitory
in Petion Ville. By midday Saturday the police were reporting 2 police
officers killed, several wounded and 3 abducted.

Saturday afternoon President Aristide and Prime Minister Cherestal visited
the wounded officers in the hospital. While mourning these deaths and
injuries, the Government commended the brave efforts of the National Police
in repelling the attack, safeguarding democracy in Haiti and reinforcing the
peace and stability sought by all Haitians.

The terrorist attacks come at a critical time in Haiti's efforts to end the
political stalemate that has blocked President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the
elected government from proceeding with the economic and social development
of Haiti. In Haiti speculation was rampant that the attack was the latest
effort to derail and delay the ongoing negotiation process. The President of
the National Assembly and national representative for Fanmi Lavalas Yvon
Neptune was clear in his assertions that nothing should stand in the way of
democracy and the continuation of the negotiations.

The Convergence, a platform of opposition parties with very little popular
support in Haiti, has challenged the May 21, 2000 general elections, and in
the past several months has repeatedly called for the re-establishment of the
Haitian army which was disbanded by President Aristide by popular demand in
1995 for their role in the 1991 coup d'etat and for historic acts of violence
and repression against the Haitian people.

``Many here believe it is no coincidence that these attacks take place now,
as Haiti is poised to gain a resumption of international aid,'' said Ira
Kurzban, General Counsel for the Government and an expert on Haitian
political affairs. ``The Government has made significant concessions that
include holding new elections and including representatives of the
Convergence in the provisional electoral council to be formed, yet the
opposition Convergence continues in their stalling tactics despite their
almost non-existent support at the polls.''

Meanwhile, Convergence is silent on their involvement with the military
terrorists. Yet, the timing and tactics seem to point clearly to a strategic
move by President Aristide's opponents to derail the progress of Haiti
towards a resolution of the electoral stalemate that has effectively cut off
international aid to the nation. On its side, the Government, supported by
the OAS and CARICOM and the Episcopal Conference of Churches in Haiti, has
made significant concessions in the negotiation process which include: 

    *  The resignation of seven contested senators elected May 2000;

    *  Reduction by 2 years in the terms of all the remaining senators
elected       in May 2000, although their elections were not contested;

    *  A reduction by one half in the term of all deputies elected in May
2000       although their elections were not contested;

    *  Without shortening the terms of local officials elected May 2000,
       elections 6 months prior to the end of their legally mandated term;

    *  No presently scheduled indirect elections leading to the appointment
of       various levels of judges and the establishment of the Permanent
       Electoral Council.

Since the internationally supported restoration of democracy to Haiti, the
disbanded military has constantly sought to reestablish the military as the
primary source of power in the nation. Convergence, whose platform includes
calling for the return of the disbanded army, has strong ties to the former
military. Unsuccessful in recent elections, the Convergence appears to be
using the army as a means to seizing power. 

SOURCE: The Government of Haiti