US urges Aristide to delay Haiti return

2011-03-14 22:36

Washington - The Obama administration says ex-Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide risks destabilising Haiti if he returns from exile ahead of a presidential run off vote on Sunday.

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner acknowledged Aristide's right to return from South Africa. But he said returning this week "can only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti's elections".

Toner urged Aristide to "delay his return until after the electoral process has concluded to permit the Haitian people to cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere".

A South African official last week said Aristide planned to return within days.

The former slum priest was Haiti's first democratically elected president and remains popular with the poor.

Aristide fled Haiti in 2004 on a US plane. He accused US diplomats of kidnapping him. Washington denies the charge.

- AP
Read more on:    jean-bertrand aristide  |  us  |  haiti  |  haiti elections
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