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US Accused of 'Occupying' Haiti As Troops Flood In
US accused of 'occupying' Haiti as troops flood in
France accused the US of "occupying" Haiti on Monday as thousands of American troops flooded into the country to take charge of aid efforts and security.
By Aislinn Laing and Tom Leonard | Telegraph.co.UK
The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts.
Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.
"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said.
Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers.
But US commanders insisted their forces' focus was on humanitarian work and last night agreed to prioritise aid arrivals to the airport over military flights, after the intervention of the UN.
The diplomatic row came amid heightened frustrations that hundreds of tons of aid was still not getting through. Charities reported violence was also worsening as desperate Haitians took matters into their own hands....
American military commanders have repeatedly stressed that they are not entering the country as an occupying force.
US soldiers in Port-au-Prince said they had been told to be discreet about how they carry their M4 assault rifles.
A paratrooper sergeant said they were authorised to use "deadly force" if they see anyone's life in danger but only as a "last resort". Read more.