PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) —Haiti’s prime minister
warned yesterday of an impending coup and appealed for
international help to contend with a bloody uprising that has
claimed 57 lives. But the United States and France expressed
reluctance to send troops to put down the rebellion.
Aid agencies called for urgent international action, warning
Haiti is on “the verge of a generalized civil war.” The
U.N. refugee agency met with officials in Washington to discuss how
to confront a feared exodus of Haitians.
Yesterday, airlines in Port-au-Prince canceled flights to the
northern port of Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city,
after witnesses in the barricaded city saw a boat approach and
rumors swept the town that rebels were about to attack.
In the western port of St. Marc, an American missionary said his
life has been threatened by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand
“We are witnessing the coup d’etat machine in
motion,” Prime Minister Yvon Neptune said yesterday, urging
the international community “to show it really wants peace
Haiti’s 5,000-member police force appears unable to stem
the revolt, but Aristide and Neptune stopped short of asking for
Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday, “There is
frankly no enthusiasm right now for sending in military or police
forces to put down the violence.”
Powell said the international community wants to see “a
political solution” and only then would willing nations offer
a police presence to implement such an agreement.
Powell spoke by telephone with French Foreign Minister Dominique
de Villepin, who called an emergency meeting in Paris yesterday to
weigh the risks of sending peacekeepers and discuss how otherwise
to help Haiti, an impoverished former colony that is home to 2,000
“Can we deploy a peacekeeping force?” de Villepin
asked on France-Inter radio, noting it “is very
difficult” amid violence.