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Copyright 2006 BBC Monitoring/BBC Source: Financial Times Information Limited
BBC Monitoring International Reports
June 9, 2006 Friday
LENGTH: 482 words
HEADLINE: HAITIAN PREMIER SEEKS TO RETURN COUNTRY’S SOVEREIGNTY
Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website on 9 June
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Haiti’s new Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis who will be inaugurated on Friday [9 June] said his government will work at creating conditions for the violence-torn Caribbean nation to recover its sovereignty, now tarnished by the presence of foreign troops. Alexis said Haiti was no longer in possession of its sovereignty since the deployment of foreign soldiers to the country. “We have to reconquer our sovereignty,” said Alexis, who was addressing a Senate assembly. “No true Haitian can accept the presence of foreign troops on the national territory,” stated Alexis, admitting, however, that their presence was now necessary to maintain order and security. “It’s a shame for us in terms of our sovereignty,” he insisted.
Alexis was referring to the 9,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force deployed to stabilise the troubled country, in the aftermath of a February 2004 armed rebellion that eventually resulted in then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was also under intense US and French pressure to quit, fleeing the country. Alexis blamed the presence of foreign army personnel in Haiti on civil society organizations and politicians who failed to reach a compromise in dealing with the political crisis which preceded the Aristide’s ouster.
“We saw it coming, but we failed to behave and to do what it took to avoid it,” he insisted. But to rid the country of foreign troops, the country’s new leaders believed efforts aimed at building a professional, well-equipped and well-trained police force should be completed. According to the Haitian constitution, only the armed national security forces are allowed to operate in the country. “No other armed forces can exist on the national territory,” says the constitution. In a speech on flag day last 18 May, president Rene Preval deplored that Haitians were no longer the masters of their land because of the presence of the foreign soldiers.
He appealed to Haitians from across the political and social spectrum to make peace in order make the presence foreign military unnecessary.
Several political groups have denounced what they describe as a foreign occupation of Haiti, the first independent black republic of the world but UN officials have repeatedly argued that the UN peacekeeping mission was not an occupying force. Alexis’ government’s programme received overwhelmingly support from Parliament with 84 deputies of 85 approving it on Wednesday after the Senate had given him a unanimous vote of confidence the day before. Alexis said he would also immediately address the cases of the political prisoners jailed under the interim government of outgoing Prime Minister Gerard Latortue.
Source: Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website, Bridgetown, in English 0000 gmt 9 Jun 06