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Arrival of top US and OAS officials could anticipate end of Honduras crisis

Wednesday, October 28th 2009 - 09:59 UTC
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US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon is expected Wednesday in Tegucigalpa US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon is expected Wednesday in Tegucigalpa

The scheduled arrival Wednesday in Tegucigalpa of two top US and OAS officials anticipates that the Honduran institutional crisis, following the ousting of elected president Manuel Zelaya last June and after months of negotiations, could be reaching a decisive moment.

US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon is the top US official according to Victor Meza, head of the negotiating team of ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

Meza gave no details of Mr. Shannon’s agenda but only confirmed that Victor Rico, Political Affair Secretary for the Organization of American States, OAS, was also scheduled to arrive.

Rico has already been in Tegucigalpa in previous stages of the complicated negotiations between the Zelaya team and that of the de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti.

“Both visits should create a propitious situation for an agreement” with the delegation from de facto leader Micheletti, in spite of the fact that Mr. Zelaya last Friday said “negotiations had failed”.

Meza, a former Home Secretary of Mr- Zelaya said that the negotiations committee was expecting “some new proposal from the delegation of Mr. Micheletti”.

“If a proposal worth of consideration and capable of unlocking the current stagnation is presented, undoubtedly we would take it into account”, added Meza. Last week negotiations fell through when both sides considered they had gone as far as they could.

Mr. Zelaya wants to be reinstated and is prepared to face Supreme Court and Congressional charges. He has the strong support from the international community and the de facto government is increasingly isolated.

Mr. Micheletti, former president of the National Assembly has offered to step down and go home as long as Mr. Zelaya does something similar. The Honduran Supreme Court, Congress and the military are contrary to the reinstatement of Mr. Zelaya.

Zelaya was ousted June 28th in the “pyjamas coup”, when at gunpoint the military flew him out of the country to neighbouring Costa Rica. He was accused of attempting to organize a referendum to support a constitutional review with a re-election bid.

However he managed to sneak back into Honduras and is holed in at the Brazilian embassy from where he is negotiating his return.

“We look forward to an agreement with the arrival of Mr. Shannon from the State Department and Victor Rico from OAS”, said Meza.

Shannon who has the post since the administration of former president Bush has been named as ambassador in Brazil but his nomination is blocked in the US Senate precisely by Republicans who are protesting the Obama administration stance on the Honduran crisis.

The Honduran crisis also has its own timetable because presidential elections are scheduled for the end of November. If the situation reaches an agreement both sides want the election to take place.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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