Friday 18 January 2019

Honduras given 72 hours to reinstate president

Alex Spillius in Washington

LATIN American leaders have given Honduras 72 hours to restore Manuel Zelaya to the presidency or face expulsion from the region's major grouping, as Washington added to the pressure on coup leaders by formally suspending military contact.

Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the 34-member Organisation of American States, said yesterday: "We need to show clearly that military coups will not be accepted. We thought we were in an era when military coups were no longer possible in this hemisphere."

The ultimatum issued by the Organisation of American States to the new government prompted the ousted leader to delay plans to return home today.

"We will wait 72 hours in order to continue with this process," Mr Zelaya told reporters in Washington, where he held meetings with state department officials.

Mr Zelaya, a left-winger overthrown by a military-led coup on Sunday for trying to extend his time in office, has won the strong support of President Barack Obama who has condemned the coup as "illegal".

Missions

The Pentagon announced it was suspending military ties with Honduras, its strongest ally in Central America. Since the early 1980s, US personnel have served at the joint Soto Cano air base near the capital.

Mr Zelaya's meetings in the US capital came as Spain became the latest country to withdraw their ambassador from Honduras.

The EU has also agreed to have no contact with the post-coup leaders in Honduras, "to avoid making gestures which could give the impression that the EU recognises" the new government. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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