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a641: Caribbean leaders might ask for release of aid for Haiti

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Posted on Tue, Feb. 05, 2002

Caribbean leaders might ask for release of aid for

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 today.

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

The draft resolution said Aristide's government has
taken steps to establish an ``environment of

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.

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