24 January 2011

US Visas revoked for Haitian officials

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The US has revoked the visas for a number of Haitian government officials because of the turmoil surrounding the presidential elections.

"We have taken this action when we believe for any individual there's information that leads us to believe that the visa holder is inadmissible to the United States," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

Crowley declined to name the officials or list the reasons for revoking the visas, but linked the move to turmoil surrounding the presidential elections.

"Our focus at the present time is in ensuring a free, fair, credible election process in Haiti," Crowley he said.

The Organization of American States (OAS) mission last week called for Jude Celestin, President Rene Preval's protégé and son-in-law, to be eliminated from the delayed second round of voting.

Initial election results in mid-December showed that opposition candidate Michel Martelly lost to Celestin by less than 7,000 votes. The results sparked violent riots between rival groups in Haiti.

Preval has been accused of orchestrating massive electoral fraud in favour of 48-year-old Celestin.

"We want to see the government of Haiti embrace the recommendations of the OAS verification mission report. We want to see security and stability sustained in Haiti. We want to see the election results reflect the will of the Haitian people," he said.

Mr Crowley said there are "strong reasons to believe" the election results do not reflect the people's will.

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