US denounces Haiti's puppet president

PRESIDENT Bill Clinton's administration last night dismissed the appointment of a new pro-military puppet president in Haiti as illegitimate, and several Democratic members of Congress said a credible US military force might be needed to restore democracy to the Caribbean country.

A State Department spokesman said the army-backed installation of Supreme Court Justice Emil Jonassaint was 'purely illegitimate to begin with' and will have no impact on US efforts to restore elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.

Despite those statements, the Clinton administration continued to send conflicting signals on the possible despatch of US troops to help restore democracy in Haiti. Quoting unnamed diplomats and Haitian officials, the Los Angeles Times had reported that Washington planned to send 'at least 600' heavily armed troops to the island to 'purge' the Haitian army, whether or not the current regime of General Raoul Cedras surrenders power.

The claim was immediately rejected by the White House. Spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers acknowledged that President Bill Clinton had not ruled out the use of force, 'but I can't imagine sending in some kind of people to achieve a mission like that'. At the Pentagon, the Defense Secretary, William Perry, was said to be 'perplexed' by the report.

But earlier, Madeleine Albright, the UN ambassador, did not specifically deny the report, admitting the administration was examining various contingency plans. Even if the threatened UN sanctions did bring down the military regime, some kind of outside force would be needed to keep order and help with rebuilding the country, she said.

The charitable explanation put on the varying versions was that the US was seeking to keep General Cedras and his colleagues off balance; the less kindly was that they were further evidence of indecision and confusion in administration foreign policy making.

If the US forces were technically under the UN umbrella, the reported plan could comply with last year's Governor's Island agreement in New York whereby a UN military and police force would go to Haiti following the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The latest UN measure calls for a tight economic embargo on Haiti from 21 May if General Cedras has not stepped down.

But yesterday brought scant sign he would do so. Guarded by well-armed Haitian troops, right-wing members of Haiti's parliament apparently installed the 81-year-old Mr Jonassaint as the new President, replacing the democratically elected Fr Aristide.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral