US official arrives in Haiti to press for end to impasse

PORT-AU-PRINCE— The U.S. State Department's special coordinator for Haiti has arrived in the troubled Caribbean country to talk with officials amid a lengthy political impasse.

Kenneth Merten is meeting with members of the Provisional Electoral Council and other officials to "discuss the urgent need for elected representatives at all levels of government." He arrived Thursday.

Earlier this month, the United States suspended financial assistance to Haiti's electoral officials as they prepare to redo a presidential vote that a special commission said was marred by fraud.

Electoral officials say the new presidential election will have to be held in October. Twenty-seven candidates have registered to run.

Meanwhile, Haiti's fragmented Parliament is continuing to block a vote on extending a caretaker president's expired mandate or paving the way for a new interim leader.