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Date: Sun, 5 Feb 1995 06:39:06 -0500 (EST)
From: ODIN (odin@shadow.net)
Subject: HAITI-FINANCE: Aristide Government Gets 900 million
Message-ID: (Pine.SUN.3.91.950205063731.18557I-100000@anshar.shadow.net)

/* Written by newsdesk in igc:ips.english */
/* ---------- "HAITI-FINANCE: Aristide Government" ---------- */
Copyright 1994 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

Aristide Government Gets 900 million Dollars in Aid

By Angeline Oyog, IPS, 31 January 1995

PARIS, Jan 31 (IPS) - The government of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide -- returned to power in October 1994 from exile -- received 900 million dollars from international donors Tuesday in pledges of aid to rebuild the country.

The donors had been meeting since Monday with Haitian government officials at the World Bank offices in Paris to draw up the much- needed funds for Haiti's emergency recovery needs and development for the next 12-15 months.

According to Rainer Steckhan, World Bank director for Special Operations in the Latin America and Caribbean region, some donors have likewise started looking at funding needs beyond the 12-15 month period.

The financial assistance pledge Tuesday in Paris were either donations or credit at concessional terms, some of which have already been disbursed to meet with Haiti's urgent cash needs.

The challenge, said Steckhan, is to translate the pledges into money for the poor, public services, infrastructure, basic education and other services like water.

Steckhan said donors, including non-traditional donors like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chili, have shown great interest and solidarity with the poorest country in Latin America trying to recover from three years of military dictatorship.

The meeting in Paris was the second assembly of donors for Haiti. The first, an informal meeting in August 1994, prepared creditors for the eventual return to Port-au-Prince of the constitutional authorities and President Aristide, overthrown in a coup d'etat in September 1991.

Aristide, the first democratically elected President, returned to Haiti on Oct. 15, 1994, after last-ditch efforts by a special U.S. mission led by former President Jimmy Carter convinced the military junta to step down and averted a U.S.-led military intervention.

Haitian Economy and Finance Minister Marie Michele Rey said the government's priorities were in such areas as health and education, to housing programmes and to justice and administrative reforms, the repatriation of Haitian refugees, the protection of the environment and the prevention of an energy crisis.

Everything is to be done and re-done, said Rey. Also urgent, she said, was the need to establish a secure environment to propel confidence and economic development and democracy.

We do not lack in needs, the needs are enormous. What we may lack are facilities to execute the reforms. We will make use of all capacities available and call on everyone, like non-governmental organisations, to make sure we neglect nothing, said Jean-Marie Cherestal, Planning and Cooperation Minister.

Facilitating the new resource flows were payments by Haiti of its arrears to the Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Inter- American Development Bank -- the only condition set on Haiti, said Steckhan.

Last Dec. 19, Haiti, with the help of international donor contributions, paid back its arrears amounting to 77 million dollars.