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a316: BBC: US Republican Senator Michael DeWine, who is carryingout a fact-finding visit on the Haitian crisis,. (fwd)





From: Robert Benodin <r.benodin@worldnet.att.net>


Haiti: Highlights of Radio Signal FM news 1230 gmt 11 Jan 02
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 12, 2002


2. [06] US Republican Senator Michael DeWine, who is carrying out a
fact-finding visit on the Haitian crisis, met with President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide yesterday to discuss the degradation of the sociopolitical
situation in the country. He said that the United States wanted to move
forward with Haiti. However, he pointed out that the Haitian rulers and
political parties must find a way to unblock the country. He added that it
is not the responsibility of the US Government or the international
community to resolve the Haitian crisis. He said that he and Aristide had a
straightforward discussion and that he encouraged the president to work out
a process that will result in the signing of an agreement to resolve the
crisis. DeWine said the two sides must make the maximum number of
compromises so they can reach a political agreement. He also talked to the
president about the acts of violence against opposition members on 17
December.
3. [08] Micha Gaillard, a spokesman for the Democratic Convergence, says the
Convergence met with US Senator DeWine at the residence of the US ambassador
last evening. He explains that they told the senator that discussions with
Lavalas are not possible. The following is an excerpt from his statements:
"We explained the events of 17 December. We told him that there is the time
before 17 December and the time after 17 December, as far as democracy is
concerned in Haiti, just like in the United States there is the time before
11 September and after 11 September. Very serious things occurred. All of us
in the Convergence explained what actually happened. It was an attack
against democracy, against the opposition, and against journalists. Senator
DeWine asked us how felt about the resumption of the negotiations, and we
answered: Aristide broke up the negotiations on 17 December when Lavalas
planned and acted the way it did. Therefore, we say there must be
preconditions, things that should be done clearly and previously." These
conditions include justice and compensation for the victims, the search for
the culprits, their arrest and trial, public security assistance, and the
deployment of a UN human rights mission in the country. Gaillard thinks the
inter-American democratic charter that was approved in Lima should be
implemented against Haiti.
4. [11] Report by Evelyne Dacilus: At the National Palace yesterday, there
was a meeting between President Aristide and members of the private sector.
This meeting was held behind closed doors. This means that journalists were
not present. Cameras and microphones were not allowed. About 200 people
participated in this meeting, which was very fruitful, according to the
participants. The discussions turned on several issues, including
decentralization, insecurity, the economy, and especially the need to resume
the negotiations between the Lavalas Family, FL, and the opposition to
resolve the political crisis. After three hours of discussions with
Aristide, the private sector did not really emerge with anything concrete.
Dr Frantz Large, who was reporting on what was said at the meeting, made the
following comments: "We no longer believe in nice words. We need actions. We
can no longer wait until there is a great need to hurry. //The head of state
must get involved and be personally involved in these activities. It is
absolutely necessary that there be meetings and dialogue. It is absolutely
necessary that what happened at the National Palace continue and extend so
as to result, as soon as possible, in the resolution of the crisis, which
cannot last any longer.//" According to Large, many proposals were made. The
private sector talked about the need for the Civil Society Initiative Group,
GISC, to resume its role as mediator in the resumption of the negotiations.
Furthermore, Large says: "Mrs Baillard asked Aristide: Are you willing to
negotiate with the opposition in a short time under our aegis, under the
aegis of the civil society? The president said that he is not against this,
but that he has some apprehensions, because this was already tried and
resulted in failure." Large adds: "Aristide clearly said that he is willing
to meet with the opposition members, either at the National Palace or some
other place, a neutral place so as to reach a resolution to the crisis."
Hans Tippenhauer, a member of the private sector who participated in the
meeting, says: "//Concretely, I cannot tell you that anything was really
laid on the table. We actually asked for concrete actions.//"
5. [17] Members of the private sector, including several business
associations, sent a memorandum to President Aristide on the occasion of the
10 January meeting. This memorandum has several aspects. It asks for the
deployment of a permanent international mission to monitor respect human
rights in the country. It also asks for the breaking-up of all illegally
armed groups acting at the same time as the police in the country. Maurice
Lafortune explains: "//Our memorandum is pretty clear. I suppose that it is
not difficult to understand. We considered three particular points: justice,
finance and economy, and security.//"
11. [41] Report by Jean-Claudy Saint-Cyr: There was a meeting yesterday
between officials from the Centre for Research and Economic and Social
Training for Development, CRESFED, and the press on the acts of violence and
attacks experienced by this institution on 17 December. The management of
CRESFED drew up an assessment of the damage caused to CRESFED by members of
people's organizations close to the Lavalas government. According to Suzie
Castor, wife of Struggling People's Organization leader Gerard
Pierre-Charles and director of this centre, the losses are assessed at
US$500,000.
12. [46] The US Embassy says in a press release that it is very concerned
about the extended detention of Antoine Saati, a US citizen of Haitian
origin. US Embassy spokesperson Judith Trunzo says the United States
formally protested Saati's arrest and extended detention in a diplomatic
note. Saati is accused of being involved in the attempted coup d'etat of 17
December. Antoine Saati, brother of Georges Saati, who is a fierce opponent
to the Lavalas regime, claims he is innocent and describes his arrest as a
political act, because a businessman with whom Saati had a conflict is a
supporter of the government.
13. [48] A group of armed individuals tried to abduct a group of US
missionaries based at the Baptist Evangelic Union, on Fourth Avenue Bolosse
in Port-au-Prince. The furious attackers asked the officials of the
institution for $15,000. The missionaries refused to hand over the money,
and the attackers broke several windows and threatened the missionaries.
Faced with this situation, the missionaries gave in to the pressure and
handed over the money. The attackers set fire to the yard of the institution
and erected barricades before they left.
14. [49] Robert Menard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders,
accuses Aristide of being responsible for the impunity that prevails in
Haiti today. According to Menard, the US Government and the foreign
ministers of the European Union should cancel Aristide's visa, as well as
the visas of his supporters. Menard went to Petit-Goave to seek information
on the murder of Brignol Lindor. He says: "//It is clear that there is no
political willingness to shed light on the murder of our colleague.//"
16. [57] The US Embassy Consular Section has inaugurated a new information
service for the people interested in getting immigrant or nonimmigrant visas
to go the United States. The Information Centre on American Visas, CIVA,
will allow all those interested to have access to general information. CIVA
was inaugurated following the signing of a contract between the US Embassy
and SOGEBANK.
Source: Signal FM Radio, Port-au-Prince, in Creole 1230 gmt 11 Jan 02
/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.