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UN Threatens To Strengthen Haiti Embargo

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WHAT will it take to convince Haiti's military leaders to make way for democratic rule?

Some analysts say only outside military intervention will work. Yet no nation, including the United States, appears interested in the job.

The United Nations Security Council, closely involved in Haiti's struggle for democracy since the UN-monitored 1990 elections that brought Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency, is continuing to rely on economic and diplomatic pressure.

A statement approved Nov. 15 by Council President Jose Luis Jesus warns that the existing arms and oil embargo against Haiti will remain, and stronger measures may be considered if Haitian military authorities continue to block President Aristide's return.

The Clinton administration has been reluctant to move to any tighter embargo that, it argues, would hurt Haiti's masses far more than its military leaders.

Still, Security Council President Jesus insists, ``The possibility of additional sanctions is always there. This is a process, and one has to take one step at a time.''

The Council statement holds the military authorities ``fully responsible'' for the suffering experienced by Haiti's people.

Most UN peacekeeping, human rights, and international relief personnel left Haiti Oct. 12 after port demonstrations sparked an abrupt withdrawal of a US transport ship carrying US and Canadian peacekeepers and engineers. In a closed session of the Security Council on Nov. 12, UN Special Envoy Dante Caputo criticized the US decision to retreat and urged the early return of UN personnel to Haiti.

Some analysts say that Haiti has become so politically polarized since the troop pullback and the failure of Haiti's Army leaders to keep the commitment they made in July at Governors Island to resign, that the traditional solution of returning Aristide and his team to power may no longer be viable. There is renewed talk these days of an old idea: creation of a broad-based Haitian government of national reconciliation.


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