WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Monday accused the United States of forcing him out of office in a "coup d'etat."
Aristide told CNN in an interview from the Central African Republic, where he is in exile, that the United States "forced" him to leave the country after a bloody rebellion.
"I was told that to avoid bloodshed I'd better leave," he said. "No one should force an elected president to move," Aristide added.
Asked about allegations he was kidnapped, he said in a text of the interview released by CNN: "As I said, I called this coup d'etat in a modern way, to have modern kidnapping."
On who kidnapped him, Aristide said: "Forces in Haiti. They were not Haitian forces. They were (unintelligible) and Americans and Haitians together, acting to surround the airport, my house, the palace.
"And then, despite of diplomatic conversations we had, despite of all we did in a diplomatic way to prevent them to organize that massacre which would lead to a bloodshed, we had to leave and spent 20 hours in an American plane.
"And not knowing where we were going with force, until they told us that 20 minutes before they landed in Central African Republic."
Earlier, several people, including two U.S. lawmakers, reported that Aristide told them by telephone that he did not leave Haiti voluntarily, but was "abducted" by U.S. troops.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flatly denied Aristide had been forced to leave. White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the charge "complete nonsense."
But Aristide insisted, "I am telling you the truth."
"They lied to me," he added.