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US, French Troops Patrolling Haitian Capital - 2004-03-02


U.S. and French troops have taken up positions and begun carrying out limited patrols in Haiti's capital, in the wake of Sunday's resignation and departure into exile of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Contingents of U.S. and French soldiers deployed in Port-Au-Prince Monday, securing diplomatic facilities and other important locations. Pentagon officials said about 200 U.S. troops were already in Haiti, adding that the number could grow to as many as two thousand.

France has some 150 troops on the ground, with dozens more expected to arrive within days. The troops are part of a multinational force that will also include Brazil and Canada.

Haitian rebels reneged on a pledge to lay down their arms and entered the capital Monday promising to reconstitute the army and enforce justice.

Meanwhile, senior U.S. officials strongly denied accusations by Mr. Aristide that the United States pressured him to step down and flee the country in what amounted to a coup d'etat.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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