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Haiti's New President Urges People to Make Peace Through Dialogue


Haiti's new president, Rene Preval, has urged his nation's divided people to make peace through dialogue, two years after an armed uprising ousted former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Mr. Preval made the appeal Sunday in his inaugural address to thousands of supporters outside the presidential palace in the capital, Port-au-Prince. He said the solutions to the country's problems are in Haitians' own hands.

Mr. Preval took his oath of office at a ceremony in Haiti's parliament, attended by foreign dignitaries such as President Bush's brother - Florida Governor Jeb Bush - and Canadian Governor-General Michaelle Jean.

Shortly before the ceremony, gunfire was heard at a nearby prison where some inmates had climbed onto the roof. Police quelled the disturbance, and the atmosphere in Port-au-Prince remained largely festive.

Mr. Preval won the country's presidential elections in February. The 63-year-old leader replaces an interim government backed by United Nations peacekeepers from Brazil.

Mr. Preval has promised to help reunify the Caribbean nation, which has suffered waves of violence since Mr. Aristide fled into exile in 2004.

It is the second time Mr. Preval has served as Haiti's president. His first term was from 1996 to 2001.