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Pentagon to Dispatch Small Military Team to Haiti - 2004-02-19


The Pentagon is dispatching a small military team to Haiti to assess security conditions at the American Embassy.

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita emphasizes the Bush administration's hope for a peaceful, political settlement of the crisis in Haiti.

But Mr. DiRita tells reporters that at the request of the U.S. ambassador, the military's Miami-based Southern Command is putting together a three or four person security assessment team to go to the island soon.

The Pentagon spokesman says the team will study security at the embassy and for American diplomats. He calls it "prudent planning."

Mr. DiRita declines to say whether the military has any contingency plans for an embassy evacuation should the condition in Haiti deteriorate.