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France Defends Political Change in Haiti - 2004-03-09


France said Tuesday that former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned from office, and that the constitutional process was respected.

The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Mr. Aristide formally resigned, and that provisional president Boniface Alexandre's government is 'legal.'

Foreign ministry spokesman Hervé Ladsous said it is completely inappropriate to say that France was an accomplice in a political kidnapping of Mr. Aristide.

Mr. Ladsous was reacting to Mr. Aristide's declaration on Monday that he was forced to leave Haiti and is still the country's legal president. Mr. Aristide was speaking from exile in the Central African Republic.

In its statement, the French foreign ministry also said it is satisfied that the Haitian provisional president, Mr. Alexandre, is committed to disarming civilians, and to forming a national coalition government in which all political parties that renounce violence will have a place.

France has sent several hundred troops to help restore peace in Haiti.

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