Haiti Premier to Step Down, Aide Reports

From Times Wire Services

Holding fast to a deadline he set upon taking office three months ago, Haitian Prime Minister Robert Malval intends to resign Dec. 15, a top aide to the beleaguered leader said Saturday.

"He has said he was going to resign then" and that has not changed, the aide said.

The aide said Malval will go to Washington next week for consultations with exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide but will probably not accept another invitation to stay in power after Dec. 15.

"Not under the same conditions," the aide said. "The mission would have to be redefined. The army would have to be subordinate to civilian control."

Malval, 50, took office on Aug. 27 to oversee the proposed transition to civilian rule that was scheduled to take place on Oct. 30.

Under a U.N.-brokered accord signed by Aristide and army leader Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, Aristide was to have returned to power on that date. However, increased violence against pro-democracy activists and Cedras' refusal to honor his promise to resign derailed the accord.

A Roman Catholic priest elected in a landslide general election in December, 1990, Aristide was ousted in a Sept. 30, 1991, bloody military coup.

In recent months, army-linked gunmen have assassinated prominent Aristide supporters, including Justice Minister Guy Malary, and have blocked many of Malval's ministers from taking office.

That defiance has persuaded Malval his position is untenable.

Meanwhile, the Haitian army has ordered gas stations to close for three days beginning today until a plan is developed for safe and controlled distribution of fuel.

Haitians have been stockpiling fuel as a worldwide oil embargo has taken hold.

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