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UN Considers Active Involvement In Haiti

ANNAN Says UN Could Become More Actively Engaged In Haiti

With violence persisting between Haitian government forces and opposition militias, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today the United Nations has been considering how to become more involved in helping the Caribbean country.

"We are extremely concerned about the situation in Haiti and we have been in touch with CARICOM [Caribbean Community] and the Organization of American States in reassessing our own participation and how we should become much more actively engaged," he told journalists as he arrived at UN Headquarters in New York.

"I may have some announcements in the next few days," he added in response to press questions.

Haiti's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Jean C. Alexandre, met with Mr. Annan today, at the ambassador's request.

Deliveries of humanitarian assistance to Haiti's northern cities were impeded after armed insurgents last week seized control of the strategically and historically significant city of Gonaïves.

In response to concerns about possible people fleeing across borders, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva noted that in the past, Haitians have turned up in neighbouring States and islands, including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba, Turks and Caicos and the United States.

"In the event of any outflow we hope and expect that States would respond humanely," Ron Redmond told reporters, adding that the agency would support these efforts.

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