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Bush Discusses Restoration of Peace In Haiti With French And Brazil - 2004-03-03


President Bush telephoned the leaders of France and Brazil to discuss efforts to restore peace in Haiti. The Bush administration denies claims by Haiti's former president that U.S. troops drove him from power.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says President Bush telephoned Brazilian leader Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to discuss their continued cooperation on restoring peace and democracy in Haiti.

He also called French President Jacques Chirac to express his appreciation for French political and military support in Haiti.

President Chirac's spokeswoman said the French leader told Mr. Bush he was delighted by the quality of cooperation and the relatively smooth departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Mr. McClellan again dismissed Mr. Aristide's claims that the Bush administration forced him from power, saying the U.S. military saved his life by getting him out of the country at his request.

"I think the absurd accusations that some have chosen to repeat do nothing to help the Haitian people, and they do nothing to help move forward during this difficult period," he said.

Mr. McClellan blamed Mr. Aristide for most of Haiti's problems, and said he must have his own reasons for continuing to accuse Washington of driving him from power.

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