US sends officials to Honduras for talks

October 28th, 2009 - 2:20 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 28 (DPA) The US will send top envoys to Honduras later this week to press the de facto government there to move to end the ongoing political crisis, the State Department said Tuesday.
It will be the first time since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted June 28 that Washington is taking a leading role in pressuring the leaders of the de facto government to restore democratic order.

Talks aimed at resolving the country’s political standoff broke down in the capital Tegucigalpa Friday. The US decision came after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke by telephone Friday with both Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, the former parliamentary speaker who has led Honduras since the coup.

“It’s getting quite urgent,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. “We’ve made this a priority and we wanted to be as helpful as we could to try and bring this to a successful resolution.”

The US delegation will include Tom Shannon, the State Department’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Dan Restrepo, the White House’s top advisor on Latin America. The US has been involved in talks in the past, but only as part of a joint negotiating team led by the Organisation of American States.

Honduras is nearing a presidential election Nov 29, which was scheduled before Zelaya’s ouster. But Zelaya and the international community, which does not recognise Micheletti’s government, have rejected the election since it is being carried under what they see as illegitimate conditions.

“We want to see an election … enjoy the kind of international legitimacy that the people of Honduras deserve for their government,” Kelly said.

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