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Haitian PM Suspends Relations with Jamaica over Aristide Visit - 2004-03-16

Haiti's prime minister has suspended diplomatic relations with Jamaica following the arrival Monday in Kingston of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has called Jamaica's decision to host Mr. Aristide for at least a few weeks an unfriendly act that will only increase tensions in Haiti.

Mr. Latortue said he was recalling Haiti's ambassador to Kingston and reconsidering the country's relationship with the Caribbean Community economic group.

Mr. Aristide says he is in Jamaica to visit his daughters, who live there. Jamaican officials say they have told him not to use the trip as a platform to seek reinstatement in Haiti.

Mr. Aristide flew to Jamaica from the Central African Republic, where he fled last month after resigning as rebels were closing in on the capital, Port-au-Prince. He continues to accuse the United States of forcing him to resign - an accusation Washington strongly denies.

In another development, the U.N.'s new special envoy for Haiti arrived in Port-au-Prince on Monday. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says veteran diplomat Reginald Dumas of Trinidad and Tobago will focus his efforts on helping to find a solution to the country's persistent political impasse.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.