OUSTED HAITIAN PRESIDENT TO RETURN TO POWER
WASHINGTON — The Organization of American States announced Sunday that an agreement has been reached between rival Haitian political factions to allow ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resume office.
OAS Secretary General Joao Clemente Baena Soares, reading the agreement in French with Mr. Aristide on his left, said the accord stipulates the need to "restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide in his duties as constitutional president."
The pact, mediated by Colombian Augusto Ramirez Ocampo of the OAS, culminated two days of negotiations between Aristide; the president of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies, Alexandre Medard; the president of the Senate, Djean Belizaire; and proposed Prime Minister Rene Theodore.
The question remains as to whether the Haitian Army, which ousted Aristide last year, will allow him to return.
The accord has some restrictions on Aristide once he regains the presidency. He is obliged to respect agreements adopted by Parliament and to accept Mr. Theodore as interim head of state until he himself can return to Haiti. Theodore's approval as prime minister by Parliament is one of the key elements of the pact.
The accord also calls for a general amnesty to those officers who participated in the coup that ousted Aristide on Sept. 29 and 30 of last year, and it asks for the lifting of commercial sanctions on Haiti by the OAS and Western nations once a government of "national consensus" is achieved.
Negotiators agreed on the necessity to separate the Army from government administration. Members of Parliament opposed to the coup remain in hiding, and at least one member of Parliament was shot to death, leading most Haitians to doubt its independence from the army.