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Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is trying to allay international fears about his recent uneven behavior with a promise that he will abide by elections to choose his successor. "I am leaving on Feb. 7," Aristide was quoted as saying in an interview with Libete, an independent Creole-language weekly newspaper that he founded and directs. The Clinton Administration has been downplaying a spate of killings and riots in the last two weeks after Aristide made incendiary remarks about political opponents and elites. TIME's Tammerlin Drummond reports that the timing couldn't have been worse for Clinton: "Haiti was one of his great foreign policy achievements. Now it may be unraveling just as he is trying to deal with Bosnia." Elections are scheduled for December 17, but Aristide is barred by the Constitution from running for a consecutive term. "There was a meeting of Aristide supporters recently in which they chanted, 'Three more years! Three more years,'" says Drummond. "And Aristide reportedly said, 'I feel what you feel.' That has been interpreted as a sign that he will not step down."