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July 23, 09

NEWS / Clinton Urges Honduran Regime to Continue Peace Talks

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has spoken with officials of the de facto regime in Honduras, urging them to continue negotiations being mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and to find a peaceful resolution to the current crisis, State Department Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley says.

Clinton made clear, “if the de facto regime needed to be reminded, that we seek a restoration of democratic and constitutional order, a peaceful resolution,” Crowley said at a news briefing July 20 in Washington.

“We do not think that anybody should take any kind of steps that would add to the risk of violence in Honduras, and … we completely support the ongoing Arias mediation,” he added.

No government has recognized the de facto regime led by interim President Roberto Micheletti after a June 28 coup, when ousted President Manuel Zelaya was arrested and flown out of the country by the Honduran army. The United Nations and the Organization of American States have called for Zelaya’s return.

On July 20, the European Union suspended 65.5 million euros ($92.8 million) in aid to Honduras, according to the EU.

In her telephone call to Micheletti, Clinton, who was traveling in India, explained potential consequences of a failure to take advantage of the Arias mediation effort, Crowley said. He also said Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon and U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens spent much of the previous weekend in conversations with Arias, representatives of the two sides and other regional leaders.

Crowley added that the sides have produced greater progress than may have seemed evident, and that a foundation was laid in the talks for a possible resolution that adheres to the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Currently, the talks are in a 72-hour suspension while the negotiating teams consult with each side, Crowley said. “You did have movement of the positions that both sides took coming into negotiation, which is not to say that we are at a successful conclusion yet. In fact, we’re not,” he said.

The United States suspended $18.5 million in nonhumanitarian aid to Honduras after the coup.

Tags: secretary of state,


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