Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, exiled in South Africa since his 2004 ouster, received a doctorate in African languages on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by President Thabo Mbeki. A university spokesperson said that Aristide had become fluent in Zulu since being appointed an honorary research fellow.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's ousted former president, said in an interview published on Thursday that he will return to the Caribbean nation ''once the conditions are right'', but doesn't plan to go back into government. In a wide-ranging interview published in the London Review of Books, Aristide said he and his family are staying in South Africa ''as guests, not as exiles''.
Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is welcome to continue his exile in South Africa as long as necessary, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday said that the open invitation was part of the international process to create ''peace and stability in Haiti''. Aristide fled Haiti in February 2004 amid violent unrest.
South Africa is in no hurry to send ousted president Jean Bertrand Aristide back to Haiti without first securing agreement from the new president, the foreign minister said on Monday. ''South Africa as the host country is still willing to have Jean Bertrand Aristide here,'' Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.
The United States reacted coolly on Wednesday to prospects that former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide would return to Haiti after the election of his one-time protégé René Préval to lead the Caribbean nation. ''If we were asked, I think we would say it's probably not a good idea. It doesn't serve a useful purpose,'' said deputy State Department spokesperson Adam Ereli.
Exiled Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide defended on Wednesday his decision to return home in the face of US reluctance, saying it was his right as a citizen of the Caribbean nation. ''I have the right to be back,'' Aristide said in an interview with international news agencies in Pretoria.