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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 12:55 GMT
Doubts over Aristide's SA asylum
Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Aristide says he was forced out of power
South Africa has not received a formal request to offer Haiti's former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide asylum, an official has said.

Presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo has described reports regarding Mr Aristide's asylum as "malicious".

Officials at a summit of Caribbean leaders said Mr Aristide, who left office three weeks ago, was being granted asylum in South Africa.

Haiti looks set to dominate the two-day Caricom talks in St Kitts and Nevis.

Mr Aristide's spokesman in Jamaica, Huntley Medley, has also said he had not yet decided where to go and was consulting several countries.

Fate unclear

Confusion surrounds the status of Mr Aristide, who left Haiti on 29 February after a three-week rebellion.

He says he was overthrown by the US in a coup. The US says it responded to his request and probably saved his life.

[Caribbean leaders are] still upset and uncomfortable
St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas
Mr Aristide first reappeared in the Central African Republic, only to turn up in Jamaica last week, apparently on a visit.

Jamaican officials - who spoke on condition of anonymity - told reporters that Mr Aristide would take permanent asylum in South Africa.

But they said Mr Aristide would have to wait until the 14 April elections were over to avoid unsettling the political climate there.

"At this point in time, no decision has been made as to where Mr Aristide goes. As such, he will continue to be a guest of the government here," said Mr Medley.

Meanwhile, the row over the legitimacy of Mr Aristide's successor is continuing.

Prime Minister Gerard Latortue
Latortue thanked rebels for defeating "the dictator Aristide"
Caricom has not recognised the new government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, and analysts say it may even decide to suspend Haiti's membership.

Mr Aristide's return to Jamaica immediately led Mr Latortue to threaten to break off diplomatic ties with the country, which is the current chair of Caricom.

Mr Latortue also said he was suspending Haiti's membership of Caricom.

But he also said he would like to attend the Caricom summit - something which angered several governments in the region.

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