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No recognition for Haiti, says Caricom

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada –

Caribbean leaders again withheld recognition of Haiti’s new U.S.-backed government Tuesday, opting instead to send a delegation to the island nation to discuss their terms for restoring ties, officials said. {{more}}
The decision came at a summit of the 15-member Caribbean Community, a regional bloc that Haiti withdrew from after Jamaica gave temporary refuge to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The bloc raised concerns over Aristide’s claim of a coup orchestrated by the U.S. government and has since withheld support for the interim government.
“We have agreed to officially engage Haiti,” St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas told The Associated Press. “We were able to arrive at a position that everyone finds comfort with.”
However, the leaders were expected to discuss the Haiti issue further before the summit ends Wednesday, leaving open the possibility of a resolution.
Leaders from the region said they would send a team of five foreign ministers to Haiti as soon as possible to discuss conditions for full recognition of the interim government.
Douglas said one of the conditions was to disarm rebels who staged the rebellion against Aristide.
Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and the Bahamas have said they would support Haiti’s return to the regional bloc. Cabinet ministers from several other nations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said they planned to follow suit and welcome Haiti’s return.
St. Vincent would not back the recognition, according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and Belize, Trinidad, Barbados, Suriname and Grenada have said they will support recognition only under certain conditions, including setting a date for general elections and releasing Haiti’s former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.
Neptune went into hiding two weeks after Aristide’s departure and turned himself in to authorities last week to face accusations of orchestrating political killings. He has denied wrongdoing.
Aristide fled Haiti on Feb. 29 during a widespread uprising against his rule and was flown to the Central African Republic aboard a flight arranged by U.S. officials who deny they forced the embattled leader to leave his country or resign.
He arrived in Jamaica on March 15 and left May 30 for South Africa, which has offered Aristide temporary asylum.

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