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As UN Council Weighs US Invasion of Haiti, All Eyes on the Junta

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THE Clinton administration may well win endorsement from the United Nations this week for a US-led invasion to oust Haiti's illegal rulers.

The debate then would shift to whether such added UN clout would finally persuade Haiti's military leaders to resign or if only full-scale invasion could restore democratic rule to Haiti. For now, it is anyone's guess.

``If the Security Council adopts the US resolution, that would make [invasion] legal under international law ... and I'll bet the US would invade,'' says Anthony Clark Arend, a UN expert at Georgetown University in Washington. (US views on invasion, Page 4.)

Thomas Carothers, an international lawyer with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says UN authorization would be a major boost diplomatically and legally for the United States. Still, he doubts the UN blessing would boost lackluster US domestic political support. ``That's what has really stopped an invasion, not lack of legal authorization,'' he says.

People such as Rep. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico are still pressing for a diplomatic solution. He met with Haiti's military commander Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras last week and said the general definitely ``feels the heat'' of US pressure.

The US hopes to gain Council authorization for an invasion by the end of this week, US officials say. US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright says there is ``remarkable unanimity'' on Haiti in the Council. ``I think everybody understands the necessity for moving on this,'' she has said.

The UN has made several efforts to resolve the impasse in Haiti. UN officials helped broker the now-collapsed Governors Island Accord aimed at returning Haiti's elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. The Council recently toughened sanctions on Haiti and condemned the regime's ``defiant'' July 11 move to oust about 100 human-rights monitors of UN and Organization of American States (OAS).

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