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a666: Powell on aid to Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>


   NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 7 (AP) -- The Bush administration will not drop
barriers to the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in international
aid to Haiti, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday, citing
continuing political unrest.
   "We do not believe enough has been done yet to move the political
process forward to assure ourselves that additional aid will be used in the
most effective way at this time," Powell said during a call to a radio talk
   Powell, attending a meeting on trade and terrorism with Caribbean
foreign ministers, was expected to face some pressure for U.S. action
regarding Haiti.
   But Powell, the first secretary of state to visit this tropical island
in 15 years, indicated in the call from his hotel that the administration
still was concerned about the electoral situation in Haiti.
   That nation has been mired in crisis since President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's party won 80 percent of seats in parliamentary elections last
year that the opposition alleges were rigged. Hundreds of millions of
dollars in international aid have been frozen until some results are
   "We are terribly concerned about the political unrest that continues to
haunt Haiti," Powell said. "We do not believe enough has been done yet to
move the political process forward to assure ourselves that additional aid
will be used in the most effective way at this time."
   He said the administration will hold Aristide and the Haitian government
to "fairly high standards of performance before we can allow the funds to
flow into the country."
   At the meeting, Powell also intends to promote the administration's
"third border initiative," which recognizes the Caribbean as a third border
to the United States after Canada and Mexico.
   The Caribbean is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in the incidence of
AIDS, the administration says, and the initiative would send more money
into the area for programs to fight the disease.
   Other elements of the initiative would be to heighten regional airport
security, provide scholarships for Caribbean students and train authorities
from the region in countering money laundering.
   Powell was to meet Thursday with leaders from the 14-nation Caribbean
Community, which just completed a regional summit in Belize.
   The meeting, postponed several times over the last year, will provide
Caribbean leaders a chance to ask for U.S. money to fight terror, said
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
   Powell said Thursday the gathering will "show the nations of the
Caribbean we believe they do play an important, vital, strategic role in
our campaign against terrorism."
   He cited efforts by Caribbean countries to crack down on narcotics
activity, smuggling and the flow of illegal money.
   Gonsalves said the foreign ministers also will ask Powell for more U.S.
aid to deal with poverty in the Caribbean.
   He said the meeting with Powell also will allow regional governments to
discuss deportation of Caribbean nationals, noting what he called clear
evidence in some community states that deportees from the United States are
contributing to rising crime.
   Last year, the United States and Canada deported more than 3,000
Caribbean nationals, mostly to Jamaica, Guyana and the Dominican Republic.
   Powell, a son of Jamaican immigrants, arrived in Nassau on Wednesday.
   On the Net: Caribbean Community: http://www.caricom.org/