HONDURAS: Starting to Miss Hillary and Ian? They’re Back!
For your reading pleasure and it’s all on Honduras. First item is Clinton during a press availability this morning with the foreign minister of Ukraine at which she spoke about Honduras. Soundbites from her remarks follow directly. The second item is a video of Clinton making the remarks. The third item is the excerpt on Honduras from today’s daily briefing with Ian Kelly in which one of the reporters asked Kelly to clarify something that Clinton said earlier in the press availability.
STORY SUMMARY: Secretary of State Clinton remarks on Honduras made during her press availability with Ukraine Foreign Minister.
DATELINE/CITY: December 9, 2009 – Washington, DC
Soundbite #1 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Summary: Secretary Clinton comments on the U.S. efforts for peace in Honduras since the June 28th coup.
Verbatim: Ever since the June 28th coup, the United States has remained dedicated both to our democratic principles and our determination to help Honduras find a pragmatic path to restore democratic and constitutional order. We condemned President Zelaya’s expulsion from Honduras as inconsistent with democratic principles and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and we have taken significant steps to signal our determination. At the same time, working with OAS, President Arias and diverse sectors in Honduras, we’ve spared no effort to help Hondurans find a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the crisis, a resolution that restores democratic and constitutional order.
Soundbite #2 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Summary: Secretary Clinton salutes the Honduran people on the election and congratulates President-elect Lobo on his victory.
Verbatim: A year-long electoral process culminated on November 29th when the Honduran people expressed their democratic will peacefully and in large numbers. And we salute the Honduran people for this achievement and we congratulate President-elect Lobo for his victory.
Soundbite #3 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Summary: Secretary Clinton commits continued U.S. support for Honduras, while working with others in the region.
Verbatim: We stand with the Honduran people and we will continue to work closely with others in the region who seek to determine the democratic way forward for Honduras.
December 9, 2009
Ian Kelly, Spokesperson
QUESTION: On another subject. I’m wondering – the Secretary just made a statement about Honduras in her press availability —
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: — upstairs. It tracked, in large part, what you said after the election. I’m wondering if you can tell me why she felt she needed to make that statement today, and what is the – does the State Department think things have changed since the – since you made your statement on the election? Have things gotten better? Are things on the track? Are they getting worse? What’s going on?
MR. KELLY: Well, I just think that we believe that important work still needs to be done to promote national reconciliation in Honduras. We had some important elections that we deemed as free and fair. There are still some steps to be done under the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, particularly in this area of national reconciliation. The Secretary made reference to that, the need to name a national unity government.
The Secretary spoke yesterday with Costa Rican President Arias, who was in Tegucigalpa, met with President-elect Lobo and several former candidates. He was there with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli. He told the Secretary that it was a very useful meeting. He noted to the Secretary that President-elect Lobo made clear that the establishment of a national unity government, the establishment of a truth commission, and political amnesty, as he put it, were actions that needed to be completed before his inauguration on January 27 to facilitate national recognition – national reconciliation, and also to facilitate broad international recognition of his government.
So we welcome this meeting by Costa Rican President Arias, who’s played such a significant and helpful role. And we hope it’s – it leads to, as I said before, further steps in implementing the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord.
QUESTION: Is – does – if Lobo – if they’re able to achieve – get these steps taken, will it be the State Department’s position that the Honduran crisis is effectively over? Are those the three things that need to be done in order for this to be put behind them?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think what we’re concerned about is that the Honduran people have a way out of this crisis. And the – as we see it, the best way out of this crisis is a step-by-step fulfillment of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord. And we’ve been very active in encouraging the sides to take these concrete steps. We support other international efforts such as the efforts of the Costa Rican and Panamanian presidents. And this is really – it’s in the interest of the Honduran people that they have a way to a more normal future. And the elections were one step, the vote in congress was another, but we have a few more important steps that have to be taken. And the Honduran people have signaled their strong desire to move beyond this by their participation in the elections.
QUESTION: Maybe – could you answer his question with a yes or a no?
MR. KELLY: Which question? Sorry.
QUESTION: Yeah. I think you went on so long, you probably forgot what the question was. Was it – if they do these things, does that mean – in the U.S. – in the eyes of the U.S., that the crisis is over?
MR. KELLY: Well, I normally don’t answer questions that begin with “if.” But I think in this case, I think the answer is yes.
MR. KELLY: I think it will all depend on the Hondurans, of course, if —
MR. KELLY: The key here is moving beyond – moving beyond the coup and getting to a point where we have reconciliation.
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Talking about the – there are some versions that say that the Secretary – Assistant Secretary Valenzuela will go to South America next week. Do you have any confirmation about that?
MR. KELLY: I don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised. I know that he is trying to make these kinds of trips in the Western Hemisphere. If he does have these plans, I’m sure we’ll be able to share the details with you.
QUESTION: Because yesterday – we know that yesterday there was a meeting in Montevideo with the countries of the Mercosur plus Venezuela, that’s not a full member, and there, these countries proclaimed that they are not going to accept the elections. And do you think that Hillary Clinton today message was like her response to this, to the Mercosur?
MR. KELLY: I would discourage you from seeing it as a direct response to any one event. I think it’s just restating our commitment to helping the people of Honduras to move beyond this and helping the various political actors in Tegucigalpa implement the accord. It was just a way for us to reiterate our support for the efforts of President Arias and President Martinelli, and I think also reinforcing what President-elect Lobo said in his press conference yesterday. I think it’s more a response to that than anything else.