The Organization of American States, OAS, agreed Monday to create a high level group to assess conditions for the re-entry of suspended Honduras, announced Peruvian Foreign Affairs minister Jose Antonio García Belaúnde
“We have signed a resolution that must formally be reviewed Tuesday by the General Assembly referred to the creation of a group of high level experts, to be named by the Secretary General, to assess the political and juridical situation of Honduras”, said García Belaúnde, following a three-hour closed doors discussion with his peers that are currently meeting in Lima, Peru for the 40th General Assembly.
Honduras was suspended from OAS following a coup last June which ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Last November elections were held but several key countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are not recognizing the government of Porfirio Lobo.
“The Commission will have time until July 31 to issue a recommendation that should help with a decision”, underlined the Peruvian official.
Deputy Secretary of State for Latinamerican Affaire, Arturo Valenzuela said it was “an excellent agreement; we support it; Honduras is complying with all the requirements for its re-admission to OAS”.
Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs minister described the situation as “a positive step that OAS should again be involved in the Honduras situation so that we can find a way for its reincorporation to OAS”.
Earlier in the day US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed for the return of Honduras, saying the new government has met its reconciliation commitments.
We saw the free and fair election of President Lobo, said Hillary Clinton. And we have watched President Lobo fulfil his obligations under the Tegucigalpa-San Jose accord, including forming a government of national reconciliation, and a truth commission. This has demonstrated a strong and consistent commitment to democratic governance and constitutional order.
Clinton drew support from among others, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Haroldo Rodas, who urged the prompt return of Honduras to the OAS along with creation of a high-level commission to verify its renewed democratic system.
But several other foreign ministers disagreed, among them Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, who said his government condemns the mistreatment of Mr. Zelaya, whom he termed the legitimate president of Honduras.
My government cannot recognize the new government in Honduras while there are violations committed against human rights, said Ricardo Patiño. And Zelaya has to be recognized in his true capacity, with guarantees in his country. And those who are responsible for the coup, those who broke human rights and democratic guarantees - they have to be punished for this.
Mrs, Clinton also appealed for the urgent financial and political restructuring of OAS.
Clinton said the United States continues to support the Washington-based OAS as the foremost multi-lateral organization of the hemisphere.
But in a sharply-worded appeal to fellow OAS foreign ministers, she said the organization founded in 1948 is in urgent need of streamlining because of a proliferation of mandates.
She said without a reform plan, hopefully in place by key budget meetings in September, the fiscal path of the OAS is unsustainable.”
The Secretary of State spoke in a general debate otherwise dominated by regional political issues.