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March 1, 2001



Haiti's newly-appointed Foreign Minister, Joseph Philippe Antonio, is expected to visit the Organization of American States in Washington on March 14. Mr. Antonio will address the Permanent Council concerning the possibility of establishing a special OAS commission to support democracy in Haiti.

The OAS Assistant Secretary General, Luigi Einaudi, made the announcement last night as he reported to the Permanent Council on his visit to the Caribbean country February 6 to 10 to continue efforts aimed at strengthening Haiti's democracy.

Ambassador Einaudi said certain developments in the French-speaking nation "suggest that there is an opening for the Organization to engage in support of strengthening democratic institutions in Haiti." He said there had been some movement "from words to action," citing the work of the Haitian Commission that considered matters relating to the rectification of the controversial May 21, 2000 elections; the "voluntary withdrawal" of five contested Lavalas senators; and inclusion of "a number of persons recognized not to be members of the Fanmi Lavalas" in the new Aristide administration.

Thanking the OAS for its support, Haiti's Interim Representative to the OAS, Jean Ricot Dorméus, said it was his government's earnest desire that the hemispheric Organization would continue to assist in the quest for a lasting solution to Haiti's crisis.

Mr. Dorméus also reported that a new electoral council was being formed for the upcoming partial elections for the Senate. He noted too that the nominee for Prime Minister had been ratified.