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Artistide told stay away

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Artistide told stay away

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The United States has asked former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide to postpone his return to the impoverished Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country fearing that his presence would affect the presidential elections on March 20.
State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said while Aristide, who has been living in exile in the United States since 2004 when he was removed from office, had the right to return, doing so this week “can only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti’s elections”.
Toner said the Obama administration believes that Aristide should stay away and “permit the Haitian people to cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere”.
He said Washington was askins South Africa to delay Aristide’s departure.
However Aristide’s lawyer, Ira Kurzban, said the United States “should leave that decision to the democratically elected government instead of seeking to dictate the terms under which a Haitian citizen may return to his country”.
Meanwhile, the Joint Organisation of American States (OAS)-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Mission in Haiti (JEOM) Monday deplored what it termed “the disruptive and violent incidents that broke out recently” during the campaign.
In a statement, the JEOM called on the presidential candidates to do everything to ensure that the campaign continues to take place in an environment of tolerance and mutual respect. (CMC)