DALLAS (Reuters) – The White House on Monday scolded ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrande Aristide for insisting he was still the president of his Caribbean country and warned him not to stir up divisions there.
“Mr. Aristide has resigned his office and has left the country. And now the Haitian people are involved with grasping democracy and moving forward on an interim government,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters traveling with President Bush (news – web sites) here.
“And that’s where the focus should be right now. And any comments that would stir up more division are not helpful, as the Haitian people move toward a greater democracy,” he added.
Aristide earlier repeated his accusations — which the United States denies — that he was abducted by U.S. forces when he left the country a week ago.
Speaking at a news conference in the Central African Republic where he is in exile, Aristide suggested there should be a peaceful resistance in his country to what he called the U.S. “occupation” of Haiti.
“I am the elected president and I remain the elected president,” Aristide said. “I am pleading for the restoration of democracy.”
The Bush administration says it helped Aristide depart Haiti but the decision to go was his own.