Aristide agrees to steps to ease crisis
The Haitian leader, at a meeting with
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
The commitments were part of a series of ”confidence-building measures” Aristide agreed to carry out within four to six weeks to help ease escalating political unrest and clear the way for elections. His progress will be monitored by the Organization of American States and leaders from the 15-member regional bloc, CARICOM. He is expected to give a progress report by early March.
Aristide also accepted proposals to begin disarming armed gangs; to publicly destroy illegal weapons; to work with the OAS and others in formulating clear rules for demonstrations; to release within the week all people who are arbitrarily being detained in
This is not the first time the Haitian president has given his word to the international community. But following marathon talks here, led by Jamaican prime minister and CARICOM Chairman P.J. Patterson, Aristide said he intends to keep his promise.
”This is for the benefit of our country and we must move this way,” Aristide said about implementing the measures, which require him to replace
”We are trying to do our best to have
At least one member of the opposition was skeptical. In
”We need to be able to march without fear,” Apaid said.
The agreements were reached late Saturday after a day of talks first between Aristide and the leaders of the
Aristide, who was accompanied by two members of his private cabinet and four government ministers, said their discussions focused on the need for both sides to find a compromise and move ahead. He called on his opponents to help him break the 3-year-old political impasse that has in recent months led to a string of violent street demonstrations and deaths.
”Now is the time for compromise,” he said.
A CARICOM delegation will travel to
Aristide has agreed to make public the findings of several ongoing inquiries, including those into the Dec. 5 attack at the State University of Haiti by pro-Aristide militants and the destruction of radio transmission tower equipment earlier this month.
”We hope as a result of the confidence-building measures and the establishment of a conducive security climate, the opposition will be encouraged to participate,” Patterson said.