WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States doesn't want Haiti's former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return to the country ahead of a presidential vote next month.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says Aristide's return would be "an unfortunate distraction to the people of Haiti" as they prepare for the March 20 vote.
Haiti has issued a diplomatic passport for Aristide. His lawyer said he picked it up Tuesday. But it's not clear if Aristide will return.
The former priest and Haiti's first democratically elected president was ousted in a violent rebellion in 2004. He lives in exile in South Africa but remains popular among many back home as a champion of the poor.
Crowley said Wednesday that the U.S. "would hate to see any action that introduces divisiveness into this election process."