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New Haiti leader forms Cabinet, shuns Aristide backers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The country's new prime minister formed a unity government yesterday, filling 13 Cabinet positions but excluding members of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family party.

Aides to interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue circulated a list of names for the new 13-member Cabinet after Latortue met with interim President Boniface Alexandre at the National Palace.

Alexandre was to formally announce the Cabinet later. But Leslie Voltaire, a former Aristide Cabinet member, said no Lavalas Party members had been chosen.

Aristide spent his second day in neighboring Jamaica, where he returned Monday after two weeks exile in the Central African Republic. He was given temporary asylum in Jamaica to meet with his daughters. Aristide's return to the Caribbean, however, caused fears in Port-au-Prince and Washington that his presence would provoke more unrest in Haiti.

Chanting "Vive Aristide!" dozens of young men demonstrated in the tense Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Belair, demanding Aristide's return and the departure of a US-led international peacekeeping force.

"One day, Aristide is going to return here. He hasn't done anything wrong," said protester Edeg Rosier, a 31-year-old electrician.

Wilgo Supreme Ebouard, leader of a neighborhood group, angrily complained that peacekeepers patrol the slum from dusk to dawn and that residents are afraid to leave their homes.

"Belair is not Kosovo or Iraq or Chechnya," Ebouard told the crowd. "We are not terrorists. We are just poor people who want to live a normal life."

Peacekeepers reported no incidents overnight in Port-au-Prince, in contrast to clashes that killed six Haitians and wounded a US Marine over the past week.

Belair is an Aristide stronghold where Marines shot and killed two residents on Friday and where a Marine was shot in the arm late Sunday, the first US casualty since Aristide fled a popular rebellion Feb. 29 and the peacekeepers arrived.

Major Xavier Pons, a French military spokesman, said plans were underway to divide the country into four peacekeeping sectors. Each of the armed forces on the ground now -- American, French, Chilean, and Canadian -- would patrol a separate area.

"We still don't know who will control where, but we should know by the end of the week," Pons said.

In accordance with a US-backed plan, Latortue's new Cabinet must be approved by Alexandre.

Earlier yesterday, an official involved in the process said that 11 ministers had been chosen and that none was from Aristide's administration.

The official said the list included Yvon Simeon as foreign minister; Bernard Gousse, an anti-Aristide lawyer, as justice minister; Henri Bazan, president of the Haitian Association of Economists, as finance minister; and former General Herard Abraham as interior minister.

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