Hosting of Mr Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a Presidential Guest in South Africa

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 478

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 11 OF 19 MAY 2006

Dr P W A Mulder ( FF Plus) to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

1. Whether South Africa is still paying for the subsistence and associated costs related to the accommodation of the former president of Haiti, Mr Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as a presidential guest in the country; if so, (a) until when will South Africa be paying for these costs and (b) what do the total costs in respect of the Aristide family and his entourage amount to up to now;

2. whether she and/or her department is (a) involved in official discussions or (b) acting as mediator (s) between the banished Mr Aristide and the newly elected president of Haiti, Mr Renè Prèval, and the new government of Haiti in order to ensure Mr Aristide's return to Haiti; if not, who is responsible for such negotiations; if so,

3. whether a date for Mr Aristide's return to Haiti has been fixed; if not, what difficulties are preventing Mr Aristide's return to Haiti; if so, what date?

REPLY:

1 (a) Yes. The South African Government continues to accord President Jean-Bertrand Aristide the status of a former Head of State and will treat him as a guest of the South African Government for as long as is necessary. Neither the South African Government nor President Aristide believes he is here on a permanent basis.

1 (b) Yes. The South African Government also continues to cover the costs of the stay of President Aristide, his family, staff and entourage in South Africa, in compliance with the original request received from CARICOM via the Africa Union. The monthly costs of his accommodation, transport, office support staff and security are similar to the cost normally incurred for a South African Cabinet Minister.

2 (a) & (b) No. The South African Government, however, maintains diplomatic relations with the new Government of Haiti and continues to interact with it.

3. No. The conditions that must be in place for President Aristide to return to Haiti are inter alia stability and the assurance of his safety. The South African Government continues to support Haiti's endeavours towards nationbuilding, reconciliation, peace, justice and stability in consultation with CARICOM, the AU and other stake holders.

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