January 10, 2001

Haitian opposition seeks support from Dominican governing party

                  BARAHONA, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Beleaguered members of Haiti's
                  opposition sought support Wednesday from a traditional enemy, meeting with
                  politicians in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

                  The meeting comes a day after militant supporters of Haiti's President-elect
                  Jean-Bertrand Aristide threatened to kill opposition leaders over their plans to
                  form an alternative government.

                  Haitian opposition leaders met with officials of the governing Dominican
                  Revolutionary Party and its leader Hatuey De Camps, who also is vice president
                  of Socialist International. De Camps said his party could not support a parallel
                  government, and he emphasized he was not acting on the behalf of the

                  "The opposition in Haiti knows that we won't put up with the persecution of
                  Aristide," De Camps said before returning to a closed-door meeting. "And
                  Aristide must also know that we cannot put up with the persecution of the
                  opposition. The opposition is a necessary party to any democracy."

                  Haitian opposition leader Evans Paul said his group does not want to take power,
                  but rather steer the country toward new elections. Aristide is to take power
                  February 7.

                  "We do not want to set up a parallel government," Paul said. "But rather, we
                  want to create a transition government that will organize free elections to avoid a
                  catastrophe that could provoke conflicts in areas such as security, immigration
                  and the environment for both our countries."

                  The opposition has accused Haiti's government of rigging May local and
                  parliamentary elections to give Aristide's party 80 percent of the contested seats.
                  All opposition parties boycotted November 26 presidential elections, which
                  Aristide won with 92 percent of the vote over six little-known candidates.

                  The meeting in the town of Barahona, near the countries' border on the island of
                  Hispaniola, came a day after the grass-roots Popular Organization Pro-Lavalas
                  threatened to kill about a dozen people considered for the alternative government.

                  "We are giving these people three days to rectify their positions and after that,
                  we will eliminate them physically," the organization's leader, Paul Raymond, told
                  reporters in Port-au-Prince.

                  Among those on the hit list are former President Leslie Manigat, former Prime
                  Minister Robert Malval, Roman Catholic Bishop Francois Gaillot of Cap-Haitien
                  and Lilianne Pierre-Paul, co-owner of Radio Kiskeya.

                  "These are the people who have traditionally dealt in death threats," Manigat said
                  Wednesday in Barahona. "If we were in a serious country, a serious government
                  would have already sanctioned these people."

                  Paul did not discuss the death threats, but said he and other opposition members
                  feel threatened.

                  "To be in the opposition is a heroic act right now," Paul said.

                  The Dominican Republic and Haiti have a long history of discord. The
                  governments had a tense standoff last year when the Dominican Republic
                  refused Haiti's request to deport seven Haitian police officers accused of plotting
                  a coup. The officers were allowed to seek refuge in Ecuador.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.