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Reno Prepared To Use Force

April 21, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ While still open to any proposal for a negotiated transfer of Elian Gonzalez to his father, Attorney General Janet Reno is looking to her law enforcement agents today to recommend how and when to remove the 6-year-old Cuban boy from the home of his Miami relatives.

``If necessary the attorney general is prepared to use law enforcement″ to pick up Elian over the objections of relatives who have temporarily cared for him since Thanksgiving, Justice Department spokeswoman Carole Florman said. ``If and when there’s a law enforcement action, we are not going to be previewing it.″

Florman portrayed Reno as virtually out of options other than law enforcement.

``There have always been three trains moving simultaneously down the track _ negotiations for a transfer, litigation and law enforcement,″ Florman said. ``We are no longer in the engineer’s seat on the negotiation train. We’re just passengers.

``She is looking to our law enforcement officials to determine the best timing and methods″ for removing Elian from the house where hundreds of Cuban exiles have gathered, promising to form a human chain to prevent the boy’s removal, Florman said.

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