US will restore aid to Honduras

US will restore aid to Honduras

SAN JOSE: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the United States will restore aid to Honduras that was suspended after a coup and urged Latin American states to recogniSe new President Porfirio Lobo’s government.
Clinton announced the move on a visit to Costa Rica, which tried to mediate a deal between deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti, who in the end organized new elections without Zelaya.

“I have just sent a letter to the Congress of the United States notifying them that we will be restoring aid to Honduras,” Clinton told reporters at a press conference with Costa Rica’s outgoing President Oscar Arias.

US President Barack Obama’s administration condemned the June 28, 2009 army-backed coup and suspended more than 30 million dollars in aid in a bid to force Zelaya’s reinstatement.

But the efforts failed and the United States ultimately recognized the elections last November that resulted in victory for Lobo.

However, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other countries in the region refuse or are reluctant to recognize the results because the elections were sponsored by a government that came to power in a coup.

Clinton, who dismissed a reporter’s suggestion that Washington was sowing division in the region with its stand, said the new government should be recognized because it was taking the rights steps to restore democracy.

“We think Honduras has taken important and necessary steps that deserve the recognition and the normalization of relations,” she said.

“Other countries in the region say that they want to wait a while. I don’t know what they are waiting for, but that’s their right to wait,” she added.

Although the United States condemns the coup, she said, “We think it is time to move forward and ensure that such disruptions of democracy do not and cannot happen in the future.”

“We are supporting the return of constitutional democracy to Honduras. The election which was held was by all observers found to be free, fair and legitimate,” Clinton said.

“President Lobo has moved quickly to implement many of the recommendations that first came from President Arias’s work on the San Jose Accords and then were incorporated into the Tegucigalpa accord,” she said.

“He has a unity government, he has a Truth Commission that will be stood up, he expedited the safe departure of former president Zelaya,” she said.

Zelaya, who sneaked back into the country after his ouster, holed up in the Brazilian embassy during the showdown with Micheletti.

Clinton is due to discuss Honduras when she meets Lobo and other Central American leaders Friday in Guatemala, the last stop of a six-day, six-country tour of Latin America.

Besides Costa Rica, she has already visited Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. -- AFP

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