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Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Denying Use of United States Ports to Vessels Trading With Haiti

1992-05-28

I have today directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Transportation to deny the use of American ports to ships that violate the trade embargo against Haiti. This action is being taken in support of the resolution adopted by the Organization of American States on May 17, which calls on OAS member states to deny port facilities to vessels trading with Haiti in disregard of the OAS embargo.

The United States remains committed unequivocally to the restoration of democratic government in Haiti. We will continue working in close concert with our OAS allies toward a negotiated settlement of the political crisis that began with the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last September 30. In addition to today's action, and in accordance with the recent OAS resolution, we are examining other steps to tighten sanctions against the illegal regime in Port-au-Prince.

Our actions are directed at those in Haiti who are opposing a return to democracy, not at the Haitian poor. We are continuing to provide substantial, direct humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti and are working to intensify those efforts. Our current programs total million and provide food for over 600,000 Haitians and health care services that reach nearly 2 million. While tightening the embargo, we will continue to encourage others to ship food staples and other humanitarian items to those in need. The action that I have directed will not affect vessels carrying permitted items.

We are expanding opportunities for Haitians who fear persecution in their homeland to apply for admission to the United States as refugees with our Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The Embassy has been receiving such applications since early February, and all persons who believe they may be qualified are urged to avail themselves of our expanded refugee operation in Haiti. I have asked the Department of State to ensure that Embassy personnel will also be available outside Port-au-Prince to assist applicants in other parts of the country in pursuing their claims.

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