The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) resumed talks on Thursday, May 27, on the controversial removal of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the ongoing situation in Haiti.

The 34-nation grouping started deliberations on Wednesday afternoon but emerged late in the evening tight-lipped on the progress of the talks.

Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states requested the session, suggesting that “the moment is propitious for the OAS to undertake a collective assessment of the situation of democracy on Haiti”, an OAS statement said.

“We felt that it was time that some consideration is given to the circumstances that led to the change in government in Haiti but it was also with a view to provide the necessary support for a clear return to the rule of law that should exists in Haiti,” said St Vincent and the Grenadines Permanent OAS Ambassador Ellsworth John.

Aristide has claimed he was forced to leave office by the United States authorities but Washington has denied the allegation.

Ambassador Ellsworth said the OAS council would also look at measures to build democracy in Haiti and he was hopeful that the OAS would also take clear action on the special mission to Haiti.

“We are hopeful also that coming out of this meeting would be a clear mandate to the special mission in Haiti to instruct them as to how we would like to see them engaging with the transitional authorities in Haiti on the question of elections, on the question of security for persons, on the question of the return of the rule of law, also on the question of capacity building,” John said.

The diplomat also sought to give assurances that, regardless of the outcome of the OAS session, Caricom was prepared to lend all necessary assistance to Haiti.

“Caricom has always maintained that Haiti as a country is still a member of us but that we need to review the circumstances surrounding Aristide’s departure before we firm up the level and type of engagement we have with the transitional authority in Haiti, and this is still something that is pending but we have always maintained that Caricom still has the interests of Haitians at heart and that it is important to the social, economic and political development of Haiti that we remain engaged at some level,” he said.