Sunday, February 12, 2006

Haiti: US "Expects" Aristide to Remain in Exile

Supporters of front-runner presidential candidate Rene Preval wave tree branches while passing in front of U.N. armored vehicles

2.10.06 US State Department Briefing on Haiti
QUESTION: Aristide cast a shadow over the election. His presence is always sort of in the background. Now in the past you've been categorical saying he's history, there's no need for him to play any part in Haitian politics. Is that still your position or do you think now with this new government or the vote behind us, he can and -- go back to Haiti?

MR. MCCORMACK: He wasn't on the ballot and he left of his own accord. He asked for assistance from the United States in going to South Africa. That was provided. We now will have a new elected government and we look forward to working with that government and the individuals that will be appointed by the prime minister in Haiti -- the new prime minister in Haiti.

QUESTION: But that's not nearly as categorical as you have been.

MR. MCCORMACK: Like I said, Saul, he wasn't on the ballot and he is in South Africa and I would expect that he would stay there.

QUESTION: The candidate who is largely believed to be the winner, didn't have any clear opposition on Aristide and it seems Aristide could come back. Would you support that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, he is not in Haiti. He is in South Africa and we believe that the Haitian people have closed the chapter in this most recent part of Haiti's history.

QUESTION: Well -- but he's actually said that -- he's actually said that he believes that Aristide should be able to come back. Is that something you would fight? Would you be discussing that with the Haitian Government about not letting him back or -

MR. MCCORMACK: We think the Haitian Government should be looking forward to their future, not to its past.


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