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a719: US Sticks to Ultimatum (fwd)

From: Daniel Schweissing <dan_schweissing@hotmail.com>

U.S. sticks to ultimatum

Released Saturday, February 9, 2002 at 10:03 am EST by Lindsay Thompson

Haitian aid package withheld

until crisis resolved - Powell


Guardian Senior Reporter

The U.S. Government is insisting that Haiti resolves its political problems
before any funds are released, despite a call from the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) to do so.

And more so, Haiti's Foreign Minister Joseph Philippe has labeled the demand
that Haiti solved its political instability in order to receive the millions
promised by the international financial communities as a "vicious cycle."

Philippe also regarded as "a classical answer" U.S. Secretary of State Colin
Powell's response that: "There is a political crisis in the country that
must be dealt with before the international community can have confidence,
that money given to Haiti, it would be appropriately spent."

"I would do everything humanly possible to assist Haiti," Powell pledged,
before he left the country following a two-hour session with Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) Foreign Ministers.

During the brief questioning period, a journalist from the United States
asked Powell why was Haiti such a particular case that the U.S. has to make
an "issue" of it.

Powell said that the U.S. is providing an estimated $65 million in
humanitarian aid to Haiti this year, and over the past eight years, his
country has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Haiti.

He added that the U.S. government in recent years, has been willing to
support assistance to Haiti, that goes directly to non-governmental and
private organisations.

"Our concern is that there is a political crisis in Haiti and until that
political crisis is resolved and the international financial institutions
and communities have some confidence in the government of Haiti to make best
use of the funds that might be made available to it, then we have
reservations about providing advice for this kind of assistance," Powell

The U.S., he said, has been in contact with the Haitian government for
several years, with respect to standards which it should meet, as laid out
by President Bill Clinton.

"I would do everything humanly possible to assist Haiti," Powell pledged. "I
have more than just a Secretary-of-State interest in this matter."

In 1994, Powell, the retired Joint Chiefs Of Staff head accompanied former
U.S. President Carter to Haiti to ask the military, headed by General Raoul
Cedras, to step aside before the impoverished nation was invaded by United
States armed forces. This move proved successful and made possible
Aristide's return to power.

Powell said that the U.S. wished Aristide a successful government, "but
there is a political crisis in the country that must be dealt with before
the international community can have confidence, that money given to Haiti,
it would be appropriately spent."

He then insisted: "In the absence of a solid political system, there is good
reason to have a lack of confidence in that proposition."

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, Samuel Insanally said in dealing with
the Haiti issue, CARICOM felt that its government should be given access to
funds to help build the democratic pillars which the international community
is demanding that it provides.

The actions taken by President Aristide are in the right direction, he said,
and the release of the funds would assist in rebuilding democracy in Haiti.

"Not doing this," said Insanally, "could lead to a deterioration of the

"We urged that both major political parties should sign the OAS agreement,
making way for return of an OAS-CARICOM Mission.

"CARICOM would help Haiti in every way that it can," he continued, "but the
U.S. assistance is needed, particularly with the international financial
institutions if we are to see some progress."

On the question of whether the U.S. was willing to assist Haiti in restoring
its democracy, Powell again noted that the Organisation of American States
has a number of proposals and the U.S. stands ready to assist in any way

"We want to see this matter resolved and as soon as it is resolved, there
would be opportunities for additional aid for the Haitian people," Powell

Asked about The Bahamas' position on the Haitian crisis, Minister of Foreign
Affairs Janet Bostwick said that this country has continued to voice the
"special difficulty" experienced by The Bahamas with the exodus of Haitians
to its shores.

Bostwick said that she apprised Powell on the increased influx of Haitians
over the past month - and years - and the "increase in cost in social
services and the possible threat to the stability of our country."

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