Envoys to urge foreign police in Haiti

May 23, 1993|By New York Times News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- In a push to finalize an agreement on deploying an international police force in Haiti, envoys of the Clinton administration and the United Nations arrived here yesterday for talks with the country's military leaders.

For two weeks, diplomats have described the planned deployment of about 500 foreign police officers in Haiti as a crucial final element in reaching a negotiated settlement to this country's political crisis, which began with a violent coup against the elected president, the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in September 1991.

The drive to deploy the police force, led by the U.N. mediator for Haiti, Dante Caputo, and President Clinton's adviser on Haitian affairs, Lawrence A. Pezzullo, has been repeatedly delayed, however, by negotiations with Father Aristide, many of whose supporters are opposed to any armed international presence in Haiti.

Diplomats also had to counter strong opposition by many of the exiled president's foes here in Haiti, who have campaigned against the deployment with strongly nationalist slogans recalling a 19-year U.S. occupation earlier this century.

In face of this opposition, diplomats involved in seeking Father Aristide's return have warned of the high costs of rejecting the deployment, which is intended to help end a climate of violence, restore the Haitian police and set the stage for forming a new government that would lead to Father Aristide's return.

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