WASHINGTON — President Clinton said Sunday that the United States would back "to the fullest" a plan to return deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti and predicted it could be accomplished without bloodshed.
Clinton, in a White House statement, hailed the U.N.-brokered accord to restore democracy to the Caribbean nation as "an historic moment for the Haitian people, for the hemisphere and for the principle of democratic rule."
Secretary of State Warren Christopher predicted that fewer than 1,000 U.S. troops would be needed to keep the peace in Haiti and train law enforcement officers while Aristide is restored to power.
The President said he telephoned congratulations to Aristide.
"He and I agreed we could both wish each other happy Independence Day," Clinton said.
Aristide and Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, who led the coup that ousted Aristide in September, 1991, signed the agreement Saturday. Cedras returned immediately to Haiti and appealed on television for all sectors to respect the accords.
Asked whether U.S. forces would be needed to police the return to democracy, Christopher said that only "a relatively small number, if any," would be required. "I suspect it will be under 1,000," he said.