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World IN BRIEF / HAITI

Clinton Extends U.S. Military Presence

December 06, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

President Clinton has given the Pentagon an open-ended order to maintain hundreds of troops in Haiti, shoring up an effort to keep the nation from falling back into chaos. "Have I made an indefinite commitment? No," Clinton said in Washington when a reporter asked about Haiti. "But I have made a definite commitment to continue to be involved there in ways that I think are appropriate." Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) has said maintaining a U.S. military presence in Haiti would be "foolhardy." Clinton's decision means that U.S. troops, who were the first to enter Haiti in 1994 to oust a military dictatorship and restore democracy, will be the last to leave. Canadian and Pakistani peacekeepers withdrew last weekend.

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