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U.S. TO GIVE AID TO HAITI DESPITE RULES

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The Clinton administration has decided to continue $13 million in aid to Haiti even though the country has failed to qualify for it under restrictions Congress set in response to political violence there, the State Department said Saturday.

The administration decided to grant a waiver in order to avoid any delay in the withdrawal of U.S. troops now preserving order in Haiti, State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Young said. Most of the troops are scheduled to leave Haiti by April 15.The law gives the president the right to waive rules that required Haiti to make progress in investigating the murders of political opponents of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Young said.

Haiti was scheduled to receive $13 million this fiscal year, mostly for humanitarian programs and the training of the country's new police force.

"To avoid disruption in crucial programs relating to the development of the police and the conduct of the investigation into political murders themselves, we have used a provision in the statute allowing the restriction on aid to be waived in order to assure the safe and timely withdrawal of American forces from Haiti," Young said.

The State Department found that Haiti has made some progress in the investigation of political killings, but wasn't able to document enough to satisfy the requirements of the law, Young said.

Government officials will review progress again after the withdrawal, she said.

"We are hopeful that the new government will make additional progress to meet the criteria established," she said.

Also, in one of his final acts as president, Aristide late Tuesday renewed diplomatic relations with communist Cuba, which had been suspended in 1959.