Originally: US diplomat calls for Caricom to abandon probe into Aristide departure

Port of Spain, Trinidad: United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) John Maisto has called on Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to end their efforts to get an independent investigation of the circumstances that led to the removal of Jean Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti.

“We think it is time to move ahead on Haiti, to deal with the real issues of eight million Haitians, which are security and human rights and rule of law and elections,” Maisto told a news conference on Monday.

“The Caricom leaders know where the United States stands, we very strongly feel it is time to move ahead with Haiti because Haiti needs the solidarity,” he added.

Caricom leaders last week announced that they would be seeking the assistance of the OAS in conducting the investigation into the removal of Aristide, Haiti’s first ever democratically-elected leader.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, was flown to the Central African Republic on 29 February after weeks of street protests and rebel uprising that left more than 70 people dead.

Aristide, who has since returned to the Caribbean, has accused Washington of engineering his removal, a claim that has been denied by the George Bush administration.

The regional leaders have so far refused to recognise the interim administration in Port-au-Prince.

Maisto told reporters that Aristide had resigned and that he had even “faxed that letter of resignation and that it was time to move on”.

Maisto reminded Caricom that Haiti was part of the regional grouping and as such, Washington expected any discussions with Caricom should include Port-au-Prince.