BANGUI, Central African Republic, March 12 ? Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s exiled president, said Friday that he would leave his temporary refuge here on Sunday and fly to Jamaica, which agreed on Thursday to allow him to visit for up to 10 weeks, a decision that drew protests from Haitian leaders.
Mr. Aristide said that he was not certain how long he would remain in Jamaica, and that a return to Bangui, the capital of the impoverished Central African Republic, was not out of the question.
“I will spend the next couple of weeks in Jamaica,” Mr. Aristide said in a telephone interview. “That will be a good opportunity for me to seek my peace and to continue to heal with my Caribbean family.”
“But it is clear that I don’t intend to stay forever there. Let me go to Jamaica, see the situation and then see what the next step will be.”
Haiti’s new prime minister, Gérard Latortue, said in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, that Mr. Aristide’s plan to return to the Caribbean could jeopardize efforts to stabilize the country, radio reports said.
In Jamaica, 100 miles to Haiti’s west, the leader of the opposition Jamaica Labor Party, Edward Seaga, said Mr. Aristide should not be allowed to stay longer than three weeks, a much shorter visit than the 10 weeks government officials had announced.
Mr. Aristide has accused the United States of forcing him from Haiti’s presidency and spiriting him out of the country to Africa against his will. Jamaica, along with many other Caribbean nations, has objected to the way in which Mr. Aristide’s elected government collapsed.
Agence France-Presse reported Friday that Jamaica’s prime minister would fly to Bangui on Sunday to meet Mr. Aristide and return him to the Caribbean.
Officials of the Central African Republic, who took in Mr. Aristide 12 days ago at France’s request, have made no secret of their desire to see Haiti’s exiled leader leave. Mr. Aristide caused a stir here shortly after his arrival when he told CNN in a telephone interview that he was being held prisoner in the palace of the country’s self-declared president, Gen. François Bozize in Bangui. Mr. Bozize seized power in a coup almost exactly a year ago.
The Central African Republic’s deputy foreign minister, Guy Moskit, said in an interview on Friday that General Bozize had accepted Mr. Aristide “as a gesture of hospitality” and respect for Haiti, the world’s first independent black-ruled nation.
“We have not appreciated his presence,” Mr. Moskit said. “But we have accommodated him without pressure.”
In his interview on Friday, Mr. Aristide said that he hoped to return to Haiti, an unlikely prospect for the foreseeable future. His eventual home remains unclear: the deputy foreign minister of South Africa, which has expressed willingness to give Mr. Aristide permanent refuge, visited Bangui this week for a courtesy call on Mr. Aristide and on the Republic’s officials.
Mr. Moskit said, however, that South Africa was unlikely to make any decision on offering a home to Mr. Aristide until after national elections there in April. South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, is a strong supporter of Mr. Aristide, and South Africa’s position on his exile has been an issue in campaigns for the national Parliament.
Lydia Polgreen contributed reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for this article.