Willing to Negotiate Aristide Return, Interim Leader Says

HAITI'S interim premier said the new government is willing to negotiate the return of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but said new elections will be held if no agreement is reached within 45 days.Under Haiti's Constitution, the interim government installed by the military last week must call new elections within 45 days at the earliest or 90 days at the latest. That time period imposes a deadline on negotiations for the exiled Mr. Aristide's return, new Prime Minister Jean-Jacques Honorat told the Chamber of Deputies Oct, 14. "It's difficult for us to speak about upcoming elections for the moment," Mr. Honorat said. "Talking about elections means Aristide cannot return." Honorat said his government was "in the middle [between the Army and Aristide], and we want to sit at a table to find a solution convenient to our country and to international order." Following the Sept. 30 coup, the Organization of American States imposed an economic and trade embargo on Haiti. Businessmen were clearly worried about the severe effects international sanctions are likely to have on the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. On Oct. 14, the nation's most important business group, the Association of Haitian Industries, called for the return of democratic rule, an important development given the group's previous chilly attitude toward Aristide.

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