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a705: Aid to Haiti not to be released

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb. 7 —  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 show.

        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 revised.
       “We are terribly concerned about the political
unrest that continues to haunt Haiti,” Powell said.
       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
       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
       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.
       © 2002 Associated Press.

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