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US Still Pushing for Political Settlement to Haiti Violence, says Bush - 2004-02-27

President Bush says he is continuing to push for a negotiated, political settlement to violence in Haiti. There are mounting calls for Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down as rebels approach the capital.

Asked if Mr. Aristide should resign, President Bush did not answer directly but instead pointed to comments from Secretary of State Colin Powell that Mr. Aristide should examine carefully how best to serve the Haitian people.

President Bush says U.S. officials are still working toward a peaceful solution.

"We are interested in achieving a political settlement. And we are still working to that effect," the president said. "We are also at the same time planning for a multinational force that would go in and make sure that if aid is needed to be delivered or there needed to be some stability, that it could go in, dependent upon a political settlement."

The president has ordered the U.S. Coast Guard to turn back any Haitian refugees fleeing the three-week-old uprising.