Latin America & Caribbean

Hillary Clinton: Haiti aid will not be suspended

Hillary Clinton during her trip to Haiti
Image caption Hillary Clinton wants Haiti to heed the recommendations issued by the OAS

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told reporters the US would not be suspending aid to Haiti.

She rejected suggestions that the US would cut off aid to pressure Haiti into accepting the recommendations made by the Organisation of American States (OAS) to settle the electoral crisis.

Mrs Clinton was speaking after meeting the three leading candidates and the outgoing President Rene Preval.

Final results of the first round of the election are expected on Wednesday.

Mrs Clinton stressed she wanted to see the recommendations made by the OAS enacted.

"We want to see the voices and votes of the Haitian people acknowledged and recognised," she said shortly after landing at Port-au-Prince airport.

Electoral crisis

The OAS has called for the government-backed candidate, Jude Celestin, to pull out of the race after monitors accused his supporters of rigging the first round of the election in his favour.

His party has withdrawn its backing, but Mr Celestin has refused to confirm that he is pulling out.

Asked if the Obama Administration was considering an embargo or a suspension of aid, Mrs Clinton answered that they were "not talking about any of that".

"We have a deep commitment to the Haitian people," she added.

Last month, US Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who oversees foreign aid for Haiti, called for a halt to funds until the crisis was resolved.

At the time, Mrs Clinton said that Haitian officials should heed Senator Leahy's warning and ensure a fair outcome to the election.

Preliminary results of the first round put former first lady Mirlande Manigat in first place and Jude Celestin in second, edging out the third-placed candidate, Michel Martelly.

Mr Martelly's supporters said the poll had been rigged in Mr Celestin's favour, an allegation which was later backed up by international monitors.

Under pressure from the United Nations, the OAS and the US, Mr Celestin's party withdrew its backing, but Mr Celestin has not yet confirmed whether he will bow out.

On Friday, the electoral commission said it would announce the results of the disputed first round on Wednesday, and set the date for the second and final round for 20 March 2011.

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