Bush Meets Caribbean Leaders To Discuss Haiti
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush conferred Thursday on the Haiti crisis and trade issues with prime ministers from five Caribbean nations.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds of St. Kitts and Nevis defended the U.S. refusal to admit Haitian refugees.
″We are not in a position to take the Haitians ourselves,″ said Simmonds. He called the crisis in Haiti ″a very complex matter″ that requires a regional solution.
″No one country, I think, can really address the problem,″ he said.
The United States and its allies imposed sanctions on Haiti at the urging of the Organization of American States to demand the restoration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted in a coup last fall.
Bush recently ordered the Coast Guard to intercept Haitian boat people at sea and return them directly to Haiti rather than bringing them to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba, for possible entry into the United States.
U.S. officials are still taking applications for political asylum in Haiti.
Also attending the meeting with Bush were prime ministers Eugenia Charles of Dominica, Nicholas Brathwaite of Grenada, John Compton of St. Lucia and James F. Mitchell of St. Vincent.