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Kerry urges compromise as Haiti seeks to form new government
December 17, 2014 / 1:16 AM / 3 years ago

Kerry urges compromise as Haiti seeks to form new government

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - U.S Secretary of State John Kerry urged all sides to find a consensus solution to Haiti’s political crisis on Tuesday as one of the country’s top political leaders warned the impoverished Caribbean nation was on the brink of political chaos again.

“The United States urges all parties to reach without delay a definitive agreement,” Kerry said in a statement.

After another day of demonstrations, no progress was reported in negotiations to form a new government following Sunday’s resignation of the prime minister.

“The president needs to appoint a prime minister in the coming hours to avoid chaos in the country,” Senate President Simon Desras told Reuters.

Desras, a moderate leftist, is deeply involved in talks to resolve a deadlock over long-delayed municipal and legislative elections.

His comments came shortly before Kerry warned that the crisis threatened to undermine progress in rebuilding the country after a devastating 2010 earthquake.

“The future of that progress is in the hands of Haiti’s leaders, and we urge them to negotiate a solution that will open the door for elections to be scheduled as soon as possible,” he said.

The United States is closely watching events in Haiti and sent its own envoy last week to help broker a solution.

If elections are not held before Jan. 12 - the fifth anniversary of the earthquake - parliament will shut down, leaving the country without a functioning government until presidential elections in late 2015.

Several thousand protesters marched in the capital on Tuesday, almost a daily occurrence in recent weeks, calling for President Michel Martelly to resign and hurling stones at police guarding the ruins of the presidential palace. Police responded with tear gas but no serious casualties were reported.

An interim replacement for Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe who was forced to resign on Sunday is due to be named on Wednesday, under a timetable set by a special commission.

Speculation about the interim prime minister has focused on several names, including the minister of social affairs and labour, Charles Jean-Jacques.

Former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert; former Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and current Finance Minister Marie-Carmelle Jean-Marie‎ are also mentioned as possible long term replacements capable of winning necessary parliamentary approval.

Desras warned Martelly to pick someone outside his “clan,” otherwise the ranks of opposition protesters would swell.

“I am not telling the president to chose a member of the opposition to be prime minister but he must choose someone that the opposition will accept,” Desras said.

Reporting by Amelie Baron and David Adams; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Cynthia Osterman

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