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Top-level Negotiations Underway to Return Aristide to Haiti

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 1/23/11

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Excerpted from TIMES LIVE OF JOHANNESBURG :

I want to go home, says Haiti's Aristide

Jan 22, 2011 10:36 PM|

By MOIPONE MALEFANE

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Top-level negotiations involving Cuba and the US are under way to send exiled Haitian leader Jean Bertrand Aristide back home - and save South African taxpayers at least R3-million a year.
Ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide

" The unbearable pain experienced in the winter must be avoided to reduce any risk of complications and blindness "
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Aristide wrote to his supporters in Haiti expressing his desire to return to the poverty-stricken Caribbean island. One of the reasons he gave was that he wanted to avoid the "unbearable pain" he was likely to suffer during a South African winter due to the six eye operations he had had during his African exile.

The government has been negotiating with Haitian authorities, with the help of the Cuban government, since last year for Aristide's departure.

But his return has been delayed by US concerns that the former Catholic priest would destabilise the country.

It is understood that the issue was discussed during President Jacob Zuma's state visit to Cuba in December.

Officials from the Department of International Relations have had several meetings with Aristide to discuss his future, most recently on Friday, after he said he wanted to leave.

The officials are to meet their US counterparts in a bid to convince them that Aristide is no longer a threat.

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Director-General Ayanda Ntsaluba confirmed the talks were continuing, but would not say which countries were helping SA's bid to return Aristide to Haiti.

Ntsaluba said the former leader, who was ousted from power in a 2004coup, was no longer interested in running for office.

"He has assured us that he was not seeking any political office ... not going there to contest any elections. He was illegally removed from political office but (he is) not interested in politics any more.

"He wants to play a role in humanitarian aid following the floods and earthquakes in his country," Ntsaluba said.

(SEE THE FULL ARTICLE HERE)

 

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