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UPDATE: Coup Regime Tells OAS “No” to Insulza’s Participation, Now Okay as “Observer”

August 9, 2009

This post has been revised to reflect coup regime decision late yesterday to “allow” Insulza to participate as an “observer” and adds a New York Times article with the story.

NOTE:  Telesur has an interview with Zelaya’s Vice-Canciller, Patricia Licona, regarding Micheletti’s coup government’s cancellation of visit with OAS.  You can see it at http://telesurtv.net

Honduras prohibits visit of OAS crisis negotiators

By FREDDY CUEVAS (AP) – 3 hours ago

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras’ interim government announced Sunday that it was canceling a visit by foreign delegates aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis because it could not accept the participation of a regional official who insists on reinstating the ousted president.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti is willing to reschedule the delegation’s visit, previously planned for Tuesday — as long as Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza is excluded, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Washington-based OAS, a long-established hemispheric body promoting democracy, development and legal cooperation in the Americas, on Friday named the delegation comprising foreign ministers from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The group’s mission was to try to persuade Micheletti to negotiate with international mediators seeking to return President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup on June 28.

But in addition to insisting that he accompany the delegation, Insulza failed to include foreign ministers who might be open to “reconsidering our position,” the statement said, which “has made it impossible to hold the visit” now.

From the beginning, Insulza and the OAS as a whole have harshly condemned the coup and said that any solution to the crisis must include Zelaya’s restoration to office. The organization later voted to suspend Honduras from its ranks. The interim government, however, had already said it would quit the organization rather than meet its demands.

The United States, which also condemned the coup, enlisted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, now Costa Rica’s president, to broker a solution. Those talks fell apart when Micheletti again refused to reinstate Zelaya.

The foreign delegation scheduled to arrive Tuesday was to represent a “continuation of Oscar Arias’ work,” Insulza said last week.

Micheletti’s government “is completely willing to consider a new date for the mission of foreign ministers … excluding Mr. Insulza, who could be replaced by other OAS officials,” the Foreign Ministry’s statement said.

The statement referred to what it called Insulza’s “lack of objectivity, impartiality, and professionalism … which has resulted in serious damage to democracy, to Honduras” and to the OAS. Neither Insulza nor the OAS immediately commented.

Despite the suspension of millions of dollars of U.S. aid and the threat of more sanctions, interim leaders have made clear they expect to hold out until the Nov. 29 elections. Coup backers hope the election will calm international demands to restore Zelaya, whose term ends Jan. 27.

Soldiers arrested Zelaya and flew him into exile in Costa Rica after he ignored a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum asking Hondurans if they wanted a special assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Zelaya is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election. Opponents say his real motive for the referendum was to abolish term limits so he could run again. Zelay denies that was his intention.

Micheletti, the courts and the military generals all insist no coup occurred because Zelaya was arrested on orders of the Supreme Court and replaced by an act of Congress.

The interim government acknowledges that sending Zelaya into exile wasn’t legal, though it says that was necessary for his security and to prevent unrest. But it says everything else it did was according to the Honduran constitution.

(This version CORRECTS that the statement was issued by the Foreign Ministry on Micheletti’s behalf, not by Micheletti himself.)

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jAkMGKIUDg_ngUiZboxQbYj5_DPwD99VEKAO1

THE NEW YORK TIMES
August 10, 2009
Honduras Accepts OAS Chief as ‘Observer’
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 12:10 a.m. ET

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduras’ interim government backed off its refusal of a visit by foreign delegates aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis.

The negotiators are welcome as long as delegate Jose Miguel Insulza, head of the Organization of American States, participates only as an ”observer,’

‘ the Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The government of interim President Roberto Micheletti has objected to what it calls a ”lack of objectivity” by Insulza — a vocal advocate of restoring President Manuel Zelaya to office after he was ousted in a June 28 coup.

The statement by the Foreign Relations Ministry comes just hours after the government had postponed the visit, objecting to the inclusion of Insulza in the group.

The ministry said the change in tack come after ”an agreement was reached over the differences that arose” about the delegation, which is planned to include the foreign ministers of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

It said the visit — originally planned for Tuesday — will now be rescheduled for a date ”that will be decided in the next two days.”

It was not the first time that diplomatic efforts to resolve the coup appear to have been delayed or drawn out by the interim government. It has dallied over a proposed compromise plan presented by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who served as mediator in the dispute, while rejecting the main point, Zelaya’s reinstatement in office.

The Washington-based OAS, a long-established hemispheric body promoting democracy, development and legal cooperation in the Americas, named the delegation on Friday.

The group’s mission is to try to persuade Micheletti to negotiate with international mediators, which Insulza described as a ”continuation of Oscar Arias’ work.”

The interim government countered that Insulza not only insisting that he accompany the delegation but also failed to include foreign ministers who might be open to ”reconsidering our position.”

Neither Insulza nor the OAS immediately commented.

From the beginning, Insulza and the OAS as a whole have harshly condemned the coup and said that any solution to the crisis must include Zelaya’s restoration to office. The organization later voted to suspend Honduras from its ranks. The interim government, however, had already said it would quit the organization rather than meet its demands.

Despite the suspension of millions of dollars of U.S. aid and the threat of more sanctions, interim leaders have made clear they expect to hold out until the Nov. 29 elections. Coup backers hope the election will calm international demands to restore Zelaya, whose term ends Jan. 27.

Soldiers arrested Zelaya and flew him into exile in Costa Rica after he ignored a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum asking Hondurans if they wanted a special assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Zelaya is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election. Opponents say his real motive for the referendum was to abolish term limits so he could run again. Zelaya denies that was his intention.

Micheletti, the courts and the military generals all insist no coup occurred because Zelaya was arrested on orders of the Supreme Court and replaced by an act of Congress.

The interim government acknowledges that sending Zelaya into exile wasn’t legal, though it says that was necessary for his security and to prevent unrest. But it says everything else it did was according to the Honduran constitution.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/10/world/AP-LT-Honduras-Coup.html


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