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Haiti's PM to visit T&T

Haiti's interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, arrives in T&T today for meetings with Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.

Latortue is expected to stay in Trinidad until Thursday and his itinerary includes a meeting with the secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States, Ruben Silie Valdes.

Details of Latortue's schedule are expected to be given today.

Latortue's visit comes ahead of the Caricom heads of government conference in Trinidad on February 9 and 10, at which regional leaders plan to discuss Haiti's future. This conference would follow Haiti's presidential and parliamentary elections on February 7, after several aborted attempts since the ousting of president Jean Bertrand-Aristide in February 2004.

Bertrand-Aristide resides in exile in South Africa.

In the statement, the ministry said Manning, who is also Caricom chairman, believes Haiti's troubled political and economic climate "requires a new intervention" by the regional grouping. Caricom, the ministry said, wants to take part in the supervision of Haiti's elections.

"Caricom has expressed its willingness to participate in international observation of the elections, through its election support group, as a further contribution to the forthcoming electoral process."

Last week, T&T's Foreign Affairs Minister Knowlson Gift held discussions about Haiti with assistant secretary general of the Organisation of American States Albert Amdin during the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee's meeting in Port-of-Spain.

Amdin was ordered by OAS secretary general Jose Miguel Insulza, whose appointment T&T supported last year, to "discuss Haiti from a Caricom perspective" ahead of the Caricom summit next month, said the ministry.

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