Local January 23, 2011 | 9:56 am

Haiti, Dominican leaders meet on mounting crises

SANTO DOMINGO. – Haiti president René Preval said Saturday that the ex dictator Jean Claude Duvalier’s fate is in the hands of justice, and that the former “president for life” was allowed to return to his country because that nation’s Constitution prohibits exile.

In a press conference after an unannounced meeting with president Leonel Fernandez, the Haitian leader said ex president Jean Bertand Aristide runs the same risk, while rumors say he’s in Cuba awaiting authorization to enter his country.

Preval, who arrived aboard a helicopter in the National Palace, said Duvalier is under house arrest in Haiti and that his Administration adhered to the Law by proceeding on the charges pending against him.

The former dictator, who was overthrown 25 years ago, returned to Haiti unannounced last week, stoking that nation’s years of political turmoil.

Preval and Fernandez spoke about Haiti’s political crisis and cholera epidemic in his National Palace office from 1:20 to 4:20 p.m., in the company of Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, and returned to Haiti after the press conference.

Local media have speculated that Preval’s visit seeks to secure exile in Dominican Republic, after he leaves office in the next few weeks.

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