The Miami Herald
January 17, 2002

OAS expanding mission in Haiti

Group cites political turmoil


 WASHINGTON -- The Organization of American States has decided to send a new permanent mission to Haiti, reacting to political turmoil and worsening violence in that country.

 The action by the 34-member OAS council came late Tuesday after a lengthy closed-door session in which Haiti agreed to expanded OAS involvement.

 ``The importance of the action is there is hemispheric consensus that there should be greater OAS involvement in this situation,'' said Luigi Einaudi, assistant secretary general of the organization.

 Einaudi, who has led several missions to Haiti, said Wednesday he will negotiate with the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide about the role and extent of OAS involvement.

 The OAS did not endorse sanctions or any stronger action against Haiti. Many members are wary of intervention by international organizations.

 A continuing dispute between Aristide and his political opponents has led to an increasingly violent confrontation between the two sides and has kept Haiti isolated on the international front, freezing badly required financial aid from abroad.

 The OAS also called for an independent investigation into the Dec. 17 attack on the National Palace, described by the Aristide government as a coup attempt. The
 incident led to escalating attacks on the government's political opponents.

 The OAS democratic charter, adopted in September, specifies democratic principles that member states must adopt, and set up a framework for intervention.

                                    © 2002