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The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Miami
Ms Reno's frustration with the delaying tactics has reached its limit
 real 28k

US Attorney-General Janet Reno
"I tried to make sure that I analysed everything as thoroughly as possible"
 real 28k

Andrew Colton, ABC
"We may have a stand-off here"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Elian handover ordered
Supporters gather outside the home of Sister Jeanne
Supporters gather outside the home of Sister Jeanne
The relatives of Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez have been given a deadline of 1800 GMT on Thursday to hand over the boy.

US Attorney-General Janet Reno has ordered them to bring the six-year-old to Opa-Locka Airport northwest of Miami by 1400 local time.

However the boy's great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, earlier said he would not give up the boy, despite face-to-face talks with Ms Reno.

Janet Reno
Janet Reno: Seeking a resolution

"They will have to take this child from me by force," he said, following the two-and-a-half-hour meeting in Miami.

"We will not turn this child over, not in Opa-Locka, not in any locka," he said.

Ms Reno had flown down to Miami to try to secure the return of the six-year-old to his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who wants to take him back to Cuba.


The Elian saga
27 Nov: Rescued off Florida coast
29 Nov: Cuba accuses US of kidnap
11 Dec: Lawyers file for asylum for Elian in US
5 Jan: INS decides Elian should return to Cuba
11 Jan: Miami judge grants great-uncle temporary custody
26 Jan: Elian's grandmothers meet him in Miami
21 Mar: Judge rejects Elian aslylum application
6 April: Elian's father arrives in Washington
12 April: Janet Reno orders relatives to hand over the boy
She said a plane would take the boy - and any relatives who wanted to go with him - to Washington for a retreat at a neutral site with the boy's father. No Cuban diplomats would be present.

Once Juan Miguel Gonzalez has custody of Elian, he is not bound to stay in the US.

Cordial meeting

The Miami talks were held in the house of Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, who hosted Elian's grandmothers during their visit in January.

Sister O'Laughlin said the meeting had been cordial and Elian had moved from lap to lap at the table.


Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin
Hosting the meeting: Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin
She also said the two sides had discussed possible further talks on Thursday in Washington.

"[Ms Reno] was very respectful and they were very honest. The pain of this family and their understanding of the pain of Juan Miguel was very evident," Sister O'Laughlin said.

Manny Diaz, an attorney for the Miami family, said Ms Reno and INS commissioner Doris Meissner heard ample evidence during the meeting that Elian did not want to go back to Cuba.

He said he would seek a federal court injunction to block the government from instructing the family to hand Elian over.

Quiet location

Elian arrived at Sister O'Laughlin's house at lunchtime on Wednesday, accompanied by his Miami relatives.

Lazaro and Elian Gonzalez
Lazaro Gonzalez and Elian set out for the meeting

The family's decision to move Elian was viewed by some observers as an attempt to get him away from the crowds of Cuban exiles outside Lazaro Gonzalez's house, who are protesting against moves to return the boy to Cuba.

On Wednesday, the boy's father asked the US Justice Department to order the Miami relatives to surrender his son without further delay.

"Every day of delay, as we have seen in the recent hours, does enormous damage to Elian," his attorney Gregory Craig said.

"He needs to be with his father."

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See also:

13 Apr 00 | Americas
Analysis: Castro's victory?
12 Apr 00 | Americas
What awaits Elian in Cuba?
09 Apr 00 | Americas
Miami divided over Elian
04 Apr 00 | Americas
High emotion in Havana and Miami
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