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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 06:34 GMT
Aristide in Jamaica trip furore
Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Aristide has spent the past two weeks in the Central African Republic
Haiti's prime minister has criticised Jamaican plans to allow the country's ousted president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to visit next week.

Gerard Latortue said he had told Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson the move was "an unfriendly act" which would increase tension in Haiti.

US state department officials said they understood the visit was temporary and for "family reasons".

Mr Latortue's comments as he was formally sworn in as the country's PM.

"This is an occasion for hope for all Haitians," he said at the ceremony in Port-au-Prince, amid tight security.

"Together we will form a responsible government that respects its institutions and I will see that every dollar given to development projects will be well spent."


Mr Latortue is to visit Jamaica personally over the weekend for talks on Mr Aristide's planned visit.

The BBC's Orin Gordon in Jamaica says that Haiti feels the proposed visit is too soon after the bloody uprising that caused Mr Aristide to flee and - in the view of the interim government - Jamaica is too close for comfort.

It is only about 150km (93 miles) from Haiti and there is fear is that Mr Aristide's presence in the neighbouring Caribbean country could embolden his loyalists and lead to more violence, our correspondent says.

The Jamaican government is conscious of the sensitivity of the planned visit; they say they have made it clear to Mr Aristide he cannot use it as a launching pad for a campaign to be reinstated as president and that he has agreed to this condition, our correspondent adds.

Mr Aristide has spent the last two weeks in exile in the Central African Republic after being forced to flee Haiti.

He reportedly wishes to visit his two daughters - who were sent to the US as the political situation in Haiti deteriorated - for about eight to 10 weeks in Jamaica, the Associated Press reported.

Cars set ablaze

On Thursday violence erupted again in the Haitian capital as police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration by hundreds of supporters of Mr Aristide.

Around 1,000 demonstrators headed for the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, chanting slogans against the US and the new government being put together by Mr Latortue.

There were no reports of injuries.

The protesters say they do not recognise Mr Latortue, a former foreign minister and UN official who has called for national reconciliation and an end to the dictatorships of the past.

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs
"The situation here remains extremely precarious"


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