Aristide still to decide on asylum

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has not decided whether he will accept permanent asylum in South Africa, his spokesman has said.

    The Haitian president was ousted last month

    Huntley Medley, Aristide's spokesman during his temporary stay in Jamaica, said on Thursday reports that Aristide had accepted an asylum offer from South Africa were untrue.

    "He is continuing to talk to several countries," Medley said. "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."

    The reports of a possible South African asylum for Aristide surfaced in St. Kitts at a meeting of Caribbean Community heads of government. South African officials denied them, and said Aristide had not formally asked for asylum and South Africa had not offered it.

    "There is no change in our position: There is no formal application, the matter is not on the table and there is no such discussion in South Africa," said Bheki Khumalo, spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki.

    Medley said Aristide had turned down an offer from another African nation, Nigeria, to accommodate him.

    Aristide left Haiti on 29 February, forced out by an armed revolt and US pressure to quit. He initially went to the the Central African Republic. He arrived in Jamaica last week for a family visit expected to last up to 10 weeks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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