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a678: White House Won't Release Aid To Haiti Amid (fwd)




From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

February 7, 2002
White House Won't Release Aid To Haiti Amid
Political Unrest Associated Press
        GROWING UNREST
    NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Bush administration won't 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," Mr. Powell said during a call
to a radio talk show.
Mr. 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 Mr. 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% 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 revised.
"We are terribly concerned about the political unrest that continues to
haunt Haiti," Mr. Powell said. He said the administration will hold Mr.
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, Mr. Powell also intends to promote the administration's
"third border initiative," which recognizes the Caribbean as a third border
to the U.S. 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 investigating money laundering. Mr. 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. Mr. Powell said
Thursday that 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. Mr. Gonsalves said the foreign
ministers also will ask Mr. Powell for more U.S. aid to deal with poverty in
the Caribbean. He said the meeting with Mr. 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 U.S.
are contributing to rising crime. Last year, the U.S. and Canada deported
more than 3,000 Caribbean nationals, mostly to Jamaica, Guyana and the
Dominican Republic. Mr. Powell, a son of Jamaican immigrants, arrived in
Nassau on Wednesday.
    Copyright  2002 Associated Press