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a633: Miami Herald: Caribbean leaders might ask for release of aidfor Haiti (fwd)

From: Robert Benodin <r.benodin@worldnet.att.net>
Miami Herald - Posted on Tue, Feb. 05, 2002
Caribbean leaders might ask for release of aid for Haiti

BELIZE CITY, Belize - (AP) -- Worried about instability in Haiti, Caribbean
leaders on Monday considered asking foreign donors to release hundreds of
millions of dollars in aid suspended because of flawed elections.
A draft resolution before leaders of the 14-member Caribbean Community would
ask the international donors to restore aid to strengthen democracy and
``provide humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti, particularly in the
areas of education and health.''
The resolution was expected to be passed before the three-day summit ends
The aid has been frozen because President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party and
an opposition coalition cannot agree on the methods for fresh elections
following flawed local and legislative elections in 2000.
In the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Aristide on Monday again urged the
opposition to return to the negotiating table.
But opponents say they cannot agree to terms that would leave in place the
power structure Aristide won through elections that gave his party some 80
percent of all seats.
Haiti has already lost about $500 million in loans and grants. U.S. aid
worth $70 million is being channeled to nongovernmental organizations, and
the European Union is holding up $45 million.
If the political crisis is settled, Haiti would immediately be eligible for
about $200 million in European aid and low-interest loans from the
Inter-American Development Bank.
The EU has offered an additional $350 million over the next five years
provided Haiti's leaders resolve the crisis.
The draft resolution said Aristide's government has taken steps to establish
an ``environment of confidence.''
Tensions in Haiti have increased since a Dec. 17 attack on the National
Palace that the government called a coup attempt and its opponents said was
staged to allow a crackdown on dissent. At least 10 were killed in the
assault and violence in which Aristide militants torched the offices and
homes of opposition leaders.