U.S. Suspends Foreign Aid to Honduras

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Following a meeting of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, the US State Department hardened its position on Honduras as it announced today it's terminating foreign aid to Honduras:

The Department of State announces the termination of a broad range of assistance to the government of Honduras as a result of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. The Secretary already had suspended assistance shortly after the coup.

The Secretary of State has made the decision, consistent with U.S. legislation, recognizing the need for strong measures in light of the continued resistance to the adoption of the San Jose Accord by the de facto regime and continuing failure to restore democratic, constitutional rule to Honduras.

In addition to having temporarily suspended $35 million in aid after Zelaya was ousted, the State Department declared it's in the process of revoking the visas of "individual members and supporters of the de facto regime."

The question remains as to what will happen with $200 million in Millenium Challege funds. The board of the fund meets next week.

Very importantly, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly also announced during the briefing that "at this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections." The State Department says,

A presidential election is currently scheduled for November. That election must be undertaken in a free, fair and transparent manner. It must also be free of taint and open to all Hondurans to exercise their democratic franchise. At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections. A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San Jose talks to move expeditiously to agreement.
The U.S. is insisting that Honduras accept in full the San José Accord, which was proposed by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias.

Arias’s seven-point proposal would have a deposed president reinstated even as he has been charged with “crimes against the form of government, treason, abuse of authority, against the public and the State of Honduras” and providing him amnesty; forming a government of unelected officials; transferring power unconstitutionally among the branches of government; and the formation of an extra-constitutional commission composed of foreign officials which would be in charge of “compliance of these agreements,” as if Hondurans themselves could not. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled that any political agreement derived from the San José Accord should be in compliance with Honduras's laws and constitution and the country's rule of law.

Last Thursday Honduran president Roberto Micheletti had offered to step down if Zelaya also renounced his claim to the presidency.

In response to the State Department's actions today, Roberto Micheletti regretted that "the U.S. has taken the side of Hugo Chavez."

After the Honduran courts and electoral board had declared Manuel Zelaya's proposed referendum unlawful and unconstitutional, he had the ballots printed and flown in from Caracas.

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