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US urges OAS to quickly organize mission to Haiti as nation's turmoil deepens

Jacqueline Charles, The Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

Insanally said before the Permanent Council can sign off on the proposed mission it will be necessary to address a number of issues: the objectives of the mission, financing, composition and timing.

Haiti's Ambassador Edmond Bocchit said the country has accepted the offer and the next step should be to ensure that the OAS mission takes place. However, he noted that the constitutional referendum was "a sovereign exercise" that has been decided by Haiti for June 27. Presidential and legislative elections, he said, are scheduled for Sept. 19, with runoffs on Nov. 21.

"The president of the republic is in constant dialogue with members of the opposition and we long to have all of the actors around the table. We are not there yet but we are working for it, this is our hope," he said. "This is precisely the context we believe this OAS mission can play an important role, in bringing the others to the table."

Bocchit then launched into a public attack of Sanders, accusing the diplomat, who has been critical of the situation in Haiti, of using the country's crisis as a pawn to promote his own agenda. Bocchit also accused Antigua and Barbuda, a nation of 100,000 people, of trying to destabilize Haiti, a country of more than 11 million, and engaging in "activities that are reprehensible."

"I am asking that you cease toying with Haiti to advance your own agenda," said Edmond.


Both Sanders and his prime minister, Gaston Browne, took issue with Edmond's attacks, saying the are unfounded and their only agenda is the "peace, security, democracy, human rights of the people of Haiti."

"The allegation by the Haitian representative to the OAS that Antigua and Barbuda is trying to destabilize the government of Haiti would be laughable if it weren't reprehensible," Browne told the Miami Herald. "As part of the hemispheric community, Antigua and Barbuda is committed to democracy, the rule of law and human rights. We uphold these rights at home and abroad."

As tension filled the OAS meeting, there was also fresh violence on the streets of Port-au-Prince, where a shootout among warring gangs in Cité Soleil made for another volatile day in the Haitian capital.

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