Latin American ministers meet to discuss the crisis in Haiti

Foreign ministers from the Rio Group met in Buenos Aires to ready next month presidential summit

Foreign Ministers from the 19 Latin American nations of the Rio Group political forum, discussed on Friday, among other less relevant issues, possible strategies to face the escalate of violence that slashes Haiti since a US backed coup ousted President Jean Bertrand Arisitide in February 2004. The issue sparked a hot debate over the future of the Caribbean nation under fragile control of an UN peacekeeping military mission led by Brazil, Argentina and Chile, which has turned into the only significant sustain of the current embattled administration very much resisted by Aristide's supporters.

A spokesman from the Argentinean Foreign Affairs Ministry termed the situation in the small and impoverished Caribbean nation as serious. According to witnesses, earlier this month not less than 20 people, died after UN forces stormed the pro-Aristide slum of Cite Soleil in Port-Au-Prince, country's capital. Clashes between irregular government supporters and Aristide followers take place almost everyday in country's main cities.

Concern among ministers comes as municipal and general elections in Haiti are underway and violence steams up. In October, Haitians will be called to elect municipal authorities, while in December they will go back to polls to vote for a new president.

In a news conference, Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa told Pravda.Ru that Latin American governments are actively working on the follow up of Haiti’s electoral process. “Our observers will keep watching Haiti’s situation even after elections due to the special scenario in this country”.

According to Mr. Bielsa, who is the acting president of the Rio Group, the Venezuelan delegation, “who was extraordinarily active during the sessions”, proposed the second resolution over Haiti ”We will work to strengthen supplying programs to meet essential needs of the Haitian population”, he told this correspondent. Bielsa, on behalf of his counterparts, vowed for clear elections and a total respect of the human rights of the Haitian people to secure a lasting peace in that country.

The Argentine Foreign Minister also mentioned that only one third of the agreed UN funding has already reached Haiti, which turns things more complicated. However, more aid is delayed because the Caribbean nation has not yet the capacity of making good use of these funds, as the administrative structure has been disbanded.

Ministers expressed support to a constitutional solution on the crisis in Nicaragua and also were setting the stage for a Summit of the Americas in November in Argentina, to which US President George W. Bush is expected to attend. The summit will promote the “creation of jobs to fight poverty and secure democratic governance”.

The foreign ministers held talks in Pilar, some 50 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires. The group was led by Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa and his counterparts, including Ignacio Walker of Chile and Celso Amorim of Brazil among others. The Rio Group was created in 1986 as a collective effort to help end armed conflict in Central America.

On the photo: Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa –center- talks with his counterparts of Brazil, Celso Amorim on the left and of Guyana, Samuel Insanally.

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Author`s name Olga Savka