The U.S. affirmed here Monday that the decision of the possible return of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti ahead of the second round of elections on March 20th is one that is “up to the government of Haiti.” (See Eurasia Review articles by Nicolas Rossier: Exclusive Interview With Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Former President Aristide Back In Haiti – Maybe A Great Opportunity To Reconcile Haitians For Once)
State Department acting deputy spokesman Mark Toner said that under the Haitian constitution Aristide “has the right to return to his country,” and that he has “chosen to remain outside of Haiti for seven years.”
“To return this week could only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti’s elections,” he stressed.
“We would urge former President 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,” he remarked.
He added that “a return prior to the election may potentially be destabilizing to the political process.”
“We encourage the South African government, as a committed partner to Haiti’s stability, to urge former President Aristide to delay his return until after the elections,” Toner stressed.
The government of South Africa has “generously” hosted Aristide and his family since he “voluntarily” departed Haiti in 2004, Toner indicated.