The United States is working to find a replacement for Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged late Monday.
Supporters of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide yell insults at US Marines during a demonstration in Port-au-Prince March 8, 2004. Photo by Eliana Aponte/Reuters
"We are working hard with the new council of eminent persons that has been created to come up with a new prime minister," Powell told Fox News Channel.
Neptune was a close ally of former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide, but remained in office after Aristide resigned on February 29 and left for the Central African Republic on a US-supplied plane.
A former structural engineer of humble origins, Neptune is one of top power players in the Lavalas family party, the bulwark of Aristide's power.
He forged closed ties with the former president while both lived in exile in the United States following a 1991 military coup led by general Raul Cedras that toppled the first Aristide government.
The Haitian president returned to power in 1994 as a result of intervention by a US-led international force, in which general Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played a prominent role.
On Monday, Powell expressed regret that Aristide had "squandered the opportunity that was given to him by the presence of American troops and by the international community that stuck with it for years."
"But this time, I hope we can come out with a better political arrangement," he said.
© Copyright 2004 AFP