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9678: White House Press Briefing & Haiti (fwd)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 20, 2001
PRESS BRIEFING BY ARI FLEISCHER
Congressional Black Caucus/Haiti pgs. 11-13
Q Ari, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are predicting horrendous outcomes in Haiti. Two weeks ago they wrote the President requesting a meeting with him concerning Haiti policy. Last week and this week they've been speaking on the House floor, complaining about the United States blocking loans that were already approved by the Inter-American Development Bank for Haiti, that are being blocked by the United States. At the same time, AP is reporting the boat people have begun to attempt to come back, and at last count
there were about 115 people missing, presumed drowned, who left Haiti October 31st.
Is the President willing or considering meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, or as some of them suggest, the United States is too preoccupied
with Southwest Asia to consider events that are going on in their back yard?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President has met with the Black Caucus before, and the President is very attentive to the concerns raised by individual members of the
Black Caucus; will continue to have conversations with different members to talk about topics of interest. Certainly, the stability of Haiti is an important
part of America's foreign policy and will continue to be one.
Q Can I follow up on -- question, if I can? By my count, the President's met with the Congressional Black Caucus once.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Is it going to be more than an annual affair? Are we, in fact, blocking loans to Haiti? If so, why? And are we witnessing an increase in attempts of Haitians to get to this country, and what are we doing about it?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, let me try to get back on more of the substantive details on that question, and I'll try to post that later in the day on that.