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9292: Haitian Parties Ready to Talk (fwd)

From: Dan Craig <dgcraig@att.net>

Haitian Parties Ready to Talk
October 6, 2001 
Filed at 2:59 a.m. ET 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Following a U.S. warning that Haiti is
endangering relations with donor nations,
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party and the opposition said Friday
they are ready to resume talks to resolve a 16-month political crisis. 

Since the disputed May 2000 local and legislative elections, which
Aristide's party won, Haiti has been mired
in a political standoff that has sidetracked Aristide's campaign promise
to create jobs and re-establish the
authority of the state. 

Talks finally collapsed in July, and the opposition has proposed they
resume Oct. 15. The governing Lavalas Family Party has agreed, but
without fixing a date. 

Opposition spokesman Serge Gilles said his 15-member Convergence
opposition alliance was ready to negotiate a
"good compromise."

Jonas Petit, spokesman for Lavalas, said he hoped talks would resume
"very soon." 

But the opposition still demands reruns of all races in exchange for
recognition of Aristide's legitimacy. The
government is willing to rerun only seven contested upper-seat races and
shorten the terms of the other

On Thursday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher pressed the
Haitians to get back to the negotiating table or risk international

"Haiti will not enjoy a normal relationship with the international
community, including donor countries and
institutions, until there is a formal agreement among the political
parties that addresses election issues," Boucher said Thursday in

The international community has suspended $500 million in assistance
until a consensus is reached and some disputed election results are

On Tuesday, Organization of American States Secretary-General Cesar
Gaviria announced the formation of
the 14-nation Friends of Haiti, an informal advisory group intended to
help mediate. 

The group is made up of 10 OAS member states, including the United
States, Germany, Norway, Spain and France, which was Haiti's colonizer.


Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company