UN-Mediated Talks on Haiti Threatened
UNITED Nations-mediated talks to restore democracy to Haiti with exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the military leader who ousted him, neared an early end on June 28 as General Cedras refused to relinquish control of the military.
United States State Department officials apparently were pressuring Cedras to moderate his position so talks could continue, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
At one point UN envoy Dante Caputo broke off the talks because Cedras insisted on retaining control of the Army under civilian rule. Mr. Caputo later issued a terse statement. "I have just received some indications that allow me to say that the negotiations are still going on," he said, refusing to elaborate.
Cedras and Fr. Aristide do not plan to meet until there is agreement on restoring Aristide, restructuring the government, and guaranteeing a transition to democracy.
In Haiti, the joint UN-Organization of American States civilian observer mission denounced a June 27 attack on Aristide supporters. Security forces broke up a demonstration of about 150 to 200 people in Cite Soleil, a sprawling slum just north of the capital that is a bulwark of support for Aristide. At least one person was arrested, according to local radio stations.
Local media reported June 28 that several other incidents took place over the weekend, including one where a soldier shot and injured people who were shouting anti-military slogans at a concert. Also, searches were performed by security forces that forced Aristide backers into hiding in the city of Gonaives.
In an event that was televised nationwide, military and armed civilians arrested and beat several people in a Port-au-Prince church on June 27 after some worshipers began chanting pro-Aristide slogans.
In a statement released later, the observer mission said seven people were detained and severely beaten at police headquarters.