OAS Panel to Study Ending Honduras' Suspension.
EFE. June 8, 2010
Foreign ministers of the Organization of American States agreed to name a commission to study the possibility of ending the suspension of Honduras, an issue that dominated the 40th OAS General Assembly in Lima
LIMA - Foreign ministers of the Organization of American States agreed on Tuesday to name a commission to study the possibility of ending the suspension of Honduras, an issue that dominated the 40th OAS General Assembly in Lima.
Honduras was suspended from the hemispheric body following the June 28, 2009, coup that ousted elected President Mel Zelaya. Elections held under the post-putsch junta resulted in a new government under Porfirio Lobo, which took office in January.
The United States, Canada and most of Central America favor restoring Honduras to full membership, but the majority of South American nations remain unwilling to take that step.
Though the question was not even part of the official agenda, delegates debated the pros and cons of Honduras' return for several hours in Monday's opening session.
The debate and subsequent private talks produced a brief resolution that is a model of diplomatic delicacy.
Given the need of OAS member-states for "better information on the current state of the Honduran political process," Secretary-General Jose Manuel Insulza is instructed to form a high-level commission that is to report back to the General Assembly by July 30.
The resolution leaves the details of the panel's creation and work up to Insulza.
From Tegucigalpa, Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati said the future panel and its report will have to be "coherent" with the efforts of the Lobo administration, including the creation of a truth commission to review the events surrounding last year's coup.
Zelaya, however, issued a statement Tuesday from his exile in the Dominican Republic asking former members of his administration to boycott the truth commission, which he called a "false attempt to alleviate the consequences (of the coup)" and secure international recognition of Lobo's government.
Judging from the sharply divergent opinions expressed at the OAS gathering in Peru, the prospects for international recognition of Lobo remain uncertain.
The Central American countries - with the exception of Nicaragua - argued strongly for the return of Honduras to the OAS, touting the move as a way of strengthening democracy in the hemisphere.
But most South American governments refuse to recognize Lobo as Honduras' legitimate president, citing the less-than-50-percent turnout for the country's November election and the human rights abuses that marred the electoral process.
Venezuela's foreign minister, Francisco Arias, focused Tuesday on comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said it was "time for the hemisphere as a whole to move forward and welcome Honduras back into the inter-American community."
Arias described Clinton's call for the OAS to listen to the Lobo government an example of efforts to allow the coup against Zelaya to go unpunished.
Latin American Herald Tribune