Leaks in UN trade embargo on Haiti

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MALPASSE, Haiti - The United States ambassador to Haiti said yesterday that a three-day total trade embargo clamped on the country had been violated repeatedly.

William Swing told reporters at the border with the Dominican Republic that oil was coming in from Haiti's neighbour and acknowledged the embargo had been broken several times since it was imposed at midnight on Saturday. The UN imposed the embargo on Haiti to try and force military leaders to allow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return to power.

Mr Swing was referring to reports that boats loaded with fuel entered the southern Haitian port of Jacmel earlier this week. He promised to try to help stop contraband trade with Haiti's Spanish-speaking neighbour 'to avoid some of the incidents we have seen in the last few days'. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

Mr Swing spent about 15 minutes at the Malpasse border crossing, through which much of the smuggled fuel and other contraband goods pass. Minutes before he arrived, Haitian entrepeneurs in rowing boats docked on Lake Saumatre's shore with illegally imported fuel brought from a small camp of fuel vendors located on the far side of the water.

Before the embassy delegation arrived, soldiers chased photographers from the area and then shouted at cameramen not to film.