Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Haiti replaces appointed Cabinet following revolt


Haiti's new Cabinet was sworn in a ceremony that formally replaced the US-backed interim government appointed to lead the impoverished and conflict-torn nation after a 2004 revolt.

President Rene Preval said the 18-member Cabinet made up of members from six political parties was the result of a new "spirit of dialogue," and urged Haitians to work together to overcome the "mistrust" among Haiti's deeply divided political factions.

Friday's swearing-in of the new Cabinet was the final step in formally transferring power from a two-year-old interim government installed after former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the Caribbean nation for exile in Africa amid a February 2004 revolt.

"We are on the path to recovering our dignity and sovereignty," Preval said in a speech at the National Palace.

Preval, a 63-year-old champion of the poor who took power last month, has said national unity is vital to restoring security and allowing the withdrawal of a Brazil-led UN peacekeeping force sent to quell violence in the aftermath of the uprising.

Friday's ceremony was attended by the new Cabinet, outgoing interim ministers and foreign diplomats. Noticeably absent was ex-interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, who left the country for the US last month for personal reasons.

Paul Magloire, Latortue's former interior minister, said a leg ailment kept Latortue from attending the hand-over ceremony.

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