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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Powell announces visit to Haiti
Port-au-Prince in Haiti
Mr Powell will discuss the current security situation
US Secretary of State Colin Powell will visit Haiti next week in the first trip by a top US official since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted.

Mr Powell will visit Port-au-Prince on 5 April for talks with representatives of Haiti's interim government, a US spokesman said.

He will also look at international attempts to bring stability to Haiti and ongoing humanitarian operations.

Mr Aristide has accused the Americans of forcing him into exile.

However, Washington insists that Mr Aristide agreed to leave the country voluntarily as armed rebels were marching on the capital. It says Mr Aristide voluntarily signed a formal resignation letter.

The former Haitian president filed a lawsuit in Paris on Tuesday against unnamed French and American officials, accusing them of kidnapping him.

Mr Aristide is currently in Jamaica, where he arrived on 15 March for a 10-week stay.

He travelled from the Central African Republic, where he had been staying since he left Haiti on 29 February.

His arrival in Jamaica prompted Haiti's acting prime minister to recall his ambassador there to protest at Mr Aristide's return to the region a fortnight after fleeing Haiti.

Observers say Mr Aristide's proximity to Haiti could revive the violence that forced him into exile.


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