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26333: (news) Chamberlain: Rice to visit Haiti as it prepares for elections (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
WASHINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice will visit Haiti on Tuesday to show U.S. support for upcoming
elections in the troubled Caribbean country, the State Department said on
The legislative and presidential elections set for Nov. 20, are the
first in Haiti since ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was driven into
exile on Feb. 29, 2004 after a bloody uprising. He had been under strong
pressure from Washington and Paris to quit.
Haiti, run by an interim government backed by the United States, is
still plagued by political and criminal violence despite the presence of
more than 7,000 U.N. peacekeepers and police. In the lead-up to the
election, hundreds have been killed, and there is concern over whether the
country can stage free and fair elections.
"(Rice's) visit will underscore U.S. support for Haiti's upcoming
elections and its ongoing process of political and economic reform," said
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack in a statement.
McCormack said that during her one-day visit, Rice would meet leaders
of the interim government and representatives of the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
During a visit by former Secretary of State Colin Powell last December
the instability in the country was reflected in an outbreak of shooting
outside the presidential palace as he was inside talking with interim