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Haitian Opposition Rejects Peace Plan - 2004-02-25

Haiti's political opposition on Tuesday rejected a power-sharing plan proposed by the international community to end the country's current political crisis. Armed rebels who hold Haiti's second largest city say they plan to march on the capital within days.

A spokesman for Haiti's political opposition known as the Democratic Platform says the opposition coalition has rejected the power-sharing accord because it does not call for the immediate resignation of Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The plan called for a three-party commission to appoint a new prime minister and a new government with representatives of the international community serving as mediators between President Aristide and his opponents.

Opposition leaders say they have sent a letter to the Organization of American States rejecting the plan. They are expected to formally reject the plan at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.

Speaking on Monday, former Port-au-Prince mayor, Evans Paul, who is a leading opposition member said Mr. Aristide should step down for the good of the country. He said Mr. Aristide's appetite for power is endangering the well being of the country and he must step down before it was too late.

Opposition leaders say Mr. Aristide and his supporters are guilty of human rights abuses, corruption and mismanagement - charges Mr. Aristide and his supporters strongly deny.

Prersident Aristide says he supports the plan which was proposed by The United States, France and the OAS, but insists on serving out the remaining two years of his term.

On Tuesday he called for compromise and an end to the armed rebellion in the northern part of the country led by former Haitian Army officers who now control Haiti's second largest city, Cap Haitian.

One of the leaders of the rebellion, former regional police chief Guy Philippe says he expects to bring the rebellion to Port-au-Prince within days.