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Date: Sun, 4 May 97 10:59:14 CDT
From: rich%pencil@VM.MARIST.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: HAITI: Aristide Appeals for Unity
Article: 10321

/** reg.carib: 201.0 **/
** Topic: IPS: HAITI: Aristide Appeals for Unity **
** Written 3:09 PM May 3, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:reg.carib **
Copyright 1997 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

Aristide Appeals for Unity

InterPress Service, 30 April 1997

PORT-AU-PRINCE, April 30 - Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has renewed his call for an end to the in-fighting threatening the Lavalas Movement, the ruling coalition.

Declaring he was taking a non-partisan stand to promote "unity amid diversity,"Aristide called for a dialogue among all political parties to strengthen the gains made since Haiti's first democratic presidential election.

"Unity does not have to mean hegemony," he told IPS. "Democracy in our country is still young - it only started on December 16, 1990 (the date of the election). We should be able to unite around our common experience, while we continue to respect our differences".

The former president refused comment on a statement made in Rome last week by Gerard Pierre Charles, coordinator of the Lavalas Political Organization (OPL-left), who characterized him as a "party boss" and criticized his "paternalistic, charismatic, and populist vision of power." He said, however, he would be open to a meeting with Charles as long as it furthered the cause of unity within Lavalas.

"When I returned from exile to Haiti, I had to work with all sorts of people who participated in the military coup who still occupied positions of power. I will continue to work for the unity and growth of all Haitians," Aristide said."

Aristide also rejected allegations made by Michel Camdessus, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the internecine struggles going on in Haiti had a negative impact on the course of development here.

"We Haitians have to sit down amongst ourselves and find our own solutions to our problems", Aristide responded.