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No Suspects in Two Haiti Blasts

July 28, 2000

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ A grenade exploded in the driveway of the Canadian ambassador’s residence and police detonated another at the former U.N. headquarters as tensions over elections results mounted Friday between Haiti and its international community.

An attacker lobbed the grenade over a low wall surrounding the residence in suburban Petionville about 10:50 p.m. Thursday, damaging the ambassador’s car but causing no injuries, a Canadian Embassy official said. Ambassador Gilles Bernier and his wife were in Canada at the time.

Another grenade turned up Thursday in the courtyard of the former U.N. civilian mission headquarters in suburban Delmas. Police detonated that grenade safely.

The attack on the Canadian residence was the first act of violence against the international community since it began questioning recent election results.

No suspects have been named and the attacks were under investigation.

Meanwhile, police increased security for the 15 Canadians who work at the embassy, Foreign Affairs spokesman Carl Schwenger said in Toronto.

Elections in May, June and July, intended to restore constitutional government to Haiti, gave former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Family party overwhelming control of Parliament and of most city and rural councils.

By law, candidates need only a simple majority for a first-round victory. But officials only counted the votes for the top four contenders in each race, yielding what observers say were numerous false Lavalas victories.

Foreign donors and the United Nations, criticial of the method, have threatened to suspend aid if Haiti fails to revise the results of the elections.

Japan suspended $13.5 million in aid earlier this month because President Rene Preval, Aristide’s hand-picked successor, refused to hold new elections for 10 disputed Senate seats.

On Tuesday, the European Union initiated a procedure that could suspend a five-year, $200 million aid package.

The United States and Canada, Haiti’s biggest individual donors, have also threatened to cut aid. Canada has given Haiti about $180 million since 1994, when U.S. troops intervened to restore democracy after three years of a repressive military-backed government.

Another $400 million in international loans were put on hold after Preval shut down Parliament in January 1999 after an 18-month showdown with the then-majority party.

Opposition politicians accuse Preval and Aristide of working to return dictatorship to this impoverished Caribbean nation. The popular Aristide is expected to win presidential elections in November.

Update hourly