RealNews

Aristide refuses to step down as Haitian capital awaits rebel attack

Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide defiantly rejected mounting pressure to stand down as the capital braced for a rebel attack and foreigners fled to the airport airport under armed guard. “I will leave the palace on February 7, 2006, which is good for our democracy,” the embattled leader said, reaffirming a vow to finish his term in office despite demands from rebels, political foes and some foreign powers that he quit. He renewed calls for international support against a rebel insurrection that has left at least 70 dead in three weeks and warned there could be thousands of civilian dead and a mass exodus unless a peaceful resolution to the crisis is urgently found. US authorities said they had already intercepted 500 Haitians in the past two days in the seas off the troubled country and Caribbean nations asked an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to immediately authorise sending an international force to Haiti. France and Canada have said they would contribute, but the Council was only expected to agree to consider a force. Full Story

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