Zelaya Delays Return to Honduras Waiting For End of OAS Deadline
In a press conference from the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Honduran president said that in view of the condemnation expressed at the 37th extraordinary period of sessions of the OAS General Assembly, he will postpone his return to Honduras until Saturday, when the deadline set for the exit of the de facto government is due
2009-07-01 | 15:01:55 EST
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya announced on Wednesday at noon that he will wait for the 72-hour deadline set by the Organization of American States (OAS) for the exit of the de facto government in Honduras to effect his return, previously scheduled for Thursday.
In a press conference from the OAS headquarters, Zelaya said that in view of the condemnation expressed at the 37th extraordinary period of sessions of the OAS General Assembly, he will postpone his return to Honduras for Saturday, when the deadline given for the exit of the de facto government is due.
The OAS condemned on Wednesday the coup d'état against Zelaya and gave a 72-hour ultimatum to the de facto government in Honduras to restore the rule of the law, otherwise the nation will be suspended from the organization.
After long hours of meetings of Foreign ministers and ambassadors in the OAS Extraordinary General Assembly, a five-point resolution was issued decreeing the "unconstitutional alteration of democratic order," after the military action carried out against the legitimate president.
The suspension from the Inter-American System is based on Article 21 of the Democratic Charter, according to the document read by Argentinean Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana.
The OAS condemned "vehemently" the arbitrary detention of Zelaya and expressed that "no government arising from this unconstitutional interruption will be recognized."
The organization declared that it recognizes the diplomatic representatives before the entity appointed by the constitutional president and stated that it will reject any other emissary of the de facto government established by the leader of the Congress Roberto Micheletti.
The OAS demanded Zelaya's return to power and for that purpose it announced that OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza will be instructed to undertake actions that will help to reinstate the rule of the law in Honduras and solve the crisis.
The meeting had been called for 20:00 GMT of Tuesday, but it began with great delays waiting for Zelaya'a arrival from New York, where he received the support of the UN.
After the declaration, the Honduran president took the floor and described what had been done by the de facto government as "a backward step for the Americas."
Zelaya said that the military coup was not the fault of the soldiers, but of the "terrorist" leaders that exert pressure in the Armed Forces of his country.
The Honduran president thanked the OAS for its support and recalled that it is the first time that this organization has declared its opinion so vehemently. "That people of Honduras feel accompanied by the peoples of the world thanks to you (...) America feels itself comforted by you," he said.
Zelaya pointed out that the resolution not only condemns an act of aggression, "but asks for corrections and requests that the act (of the coup) does not remain unpunished."
"I know how to forgive, I am tolerant, I practice non-violence, but the people do not forgive and history condemns," said the head of state.
OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza said that the organization fulfilled its role by using "everything in our power" to pressure the de facto government led by Micheletti to relinquish power.
"We do not want to suspend the beloved nation of Honduras, but it is the usurpers who have embarrassed their own country and who have refused the right to live in democracy to the people,' Insulza said.
The OAS secretary general committed himself, looking at Zelaya, to travel to Honduras along with the legitimate president and said that this will be "a hard battle."
"There are things I should do, and I have three days to do them... the president's decision to travel or not belongs to him and when he decides to do so, I will accompany him," Insulza said.
Insulza stated that the steps to be followed for the return of constitutional order will be discussed on Thursday and said that the OAS will not accept any action that will not cause the effects they are looking for: "the return of Manuel Zelaya".
Zelaya in Panama.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said that he will travel to Panama on Wednesday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his counterpart, president elect Ricardo Martinelli, and that he will later wait for the 72-hour deadline (due on Saturday) doing "some negotiations," without specifying in which country he will do so.