By STEVENSON JACOBS, Associated Press Writer
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his wife will travel to Jamaica next week, returning to the Caribbean less than three weeks after fleeing into exile, Jamaica’s prime minister said Thursday.
Aristide, ousted Feb. 29 at the height of a popular rebellion, currently is staying in the Central African Republic while seeking long-term asylum somewhere.
Aristide wants to be reunited with his two young daughters, who currently are in New York, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said. The girls were sent there to stay with the mother of Aristide’s American wife, Mildred, for their safety.
Patterson said Aristide was not seeking political asylum in Jamaica, where he will stay for up to 10 weeks.
“Mr. Aristide has expressed a wish to return temporarily to the Caribbean with his wife and to be reunited with their two young children, who are currently in the United States,” Patterson said in a statement.
He added that Aristide was finalizing plans for “permanent residence outside of the region,” though he did not say where.
Aristide is expected to arrive early next week, Patterson said.
Aristide claims he still is Haiti’s legitimate leader and has accused the U.S. government of forcing him from his post.
The United States has denied that.