General Assembly President Expresses Outrage at Coup d’État in Honduras, Says Crucial for World Community to ‘Stand as One’ in Condemnation
General Assembly President Expresses Outrage at Coup d’État in Honduras, Says Crucial for World Community to ‘Stand as One’ in Condemnation
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-third General Assembly
91st & 92nd Meeting (PM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT EXPRESSES OUTRAGE AT COUP D’ÉTAT IN HONDURAS,
SAYS CRUCIAL FOR WORLD COMMUNITY TO ‘STAND AS ONE’ IN CONDEMNATION
Honduras Representative Tells Assembly He Represents ‘True President’;
Some 30 Speakers Condemn Removal of President Zelaya, Call for Return to Power
With a heavy heart and a sense of outrage, General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann today urged the world community to consider ways to effect the peaceful restoration of Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya, as he convened a meeting of the Assembly to consider the situation following that leader’s ouster by a military-led coup d’état Sunday.
“This is a throwback to another era that we hoped was now a distant nightmare,” Mr. d’Escoto said, stressing that Central America’s record as the world’s most coup-filled region had no place in the twenty-first century.
Describing those bloody, oppressive years as “lost years” in the region’s development, he said it was appropriate and crucial for the world community, as the “G-192”, to underscore the coup’s illegality and stand as one in their condemnation. To that end, he had invited President Zelaya, who was exiled to Costa Rica, to personally update the General Assembly on the situation in Honduras. That offer had been accepted and an address scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Turning to the reasons cited by the military for its actions, he stressed that President Zelaya’s call for an amendment to extend the limits of a presidential term was not illegitimate. Indeed, other countries in the region had done so through various plebiscites. President Zelaya’s removal ran counter to the democratic trends in the region and he remained “the only legitimate and constitutional head of the Honduran Government”.
Saying he represented Jose Manuel Zelaya, the “true President of Honduras”, the Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations emphasized that his Government’s mandate to govern had been gained in fully transparent elections. A non-binding referendum on constitutional issues, that was to have taken placed on Sunday, was an insufficient motive for violating the constitutional order of the country. The President had, in fact, aimed to strengthen the country’s constitution and democracy.
He hoped the Assembly would, as many other countries and regional groups already had, universally condemn the coup d’état by forces that opposed the will the people. It should also avoid recognizing any illegitimate Government that might be proclaimed through the coup. A resolution on this matter would be tabled as soon as possible.
During the meeting, which was convened amidst the ongoing Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, over two dozen speakers took the floor to condemn President Zelaya’s ouster. Among them, the representative of Venezuela, who spoke on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, demanded the immediate return of the rule of law and restoration of the President’s functions. He called on the Honduran armed forces to immediately return to their headquarters and avoid any incident that might lead to bloodshed.
Calling the weekend’s events in Honduras an “anachronism”, Guatemala’s representative stressed the progress the region as a whole, and Honduras in particular, had made on the road to peace and democracy. The laws and Constitution of Honduras contained mechanisms for resolving differences between the State’s different powers within an institutional framework and, to that end, the use of force by the Honduran armed forces to resolve such differences was to be condemned.
Joining the 20other speakers from the Americas in rejecting the coup, the United States delegate said her country had also joined its colleagues in the Organization of American States yesterday in condemning the coup. United States President Barack Obama had also called on all actors to resolve any dispute peacefully through dialogue and free of any outside influence. Her country would continue to work through the Organization of American States to help the Honduran people.
Nicaragua’s representative urged the people of Honduras to arm themselves with courage and let the “putschists” know that their time had passed. All of America, both North and South, rejected their coup, and no more banana republics where oligarchs could continue to exploit the people with impunity existed. Although they claimed to be acting in support of democracy, they acted with bare-faced illogic that went against the region’s recent democratic history.
She particularly condemned the abduction of Patricia Rodas, the Foreign Minister of Honduras, as well as the kidnapping of the ambassadors of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. That flagrant violation of international law was an act of aggression against each respective country that would not go unpunished.
Also speaking were the representatives of Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Chile (on behalf of the Union of South American Nations), Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Dominican Republic, Bahrain (on behalf of the Arab Group), Brazil, Ecuador, Algeria, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, El Salvador, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Peru, Uruguay and Cape Verde.
The General Assembly will reconvene to take action on the reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 June, after which it will hear an address by the President of Honduras and act on a related resolution.
The General Assembly this morning reopened to consider agenda item 20 entitled “The situation in Central America: progress in forming a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development” in response to the situation in Honduras.
Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said he called the meeting with a heavy heart and, indeed, a sense of outrage, so that the world community might consider ways for the peaceful restoration of Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup d’état Sunday.
“This is a throwback to another era that we hoped was now a distant nightmare,” he said, stressing that Central America’s record as the world’s most coup-filled region had no place in the twenty-first century. As a Nicaraguan, he expressed shame that the coup d’état had taken place during his term at the head of the General Assembly.
Briefly outlining the history of the region’s coups in the 1970s and 1980s, he said they had been bloody, oppressive years that represented lost years in the region’s development. Against the recent trends of democracy in the region, armed men had forced President Zelaya into exile in Costa Rica on Sunday morning. The region had responded with outrage, demanding the Government’s immediate restoration. Regional groups, as well as leaders around the world, had also done so. It was appropriate and crucial for the world community, in the “G-192”, to underscore the illegality of this crime, standing as one in their condemnation.
President Zelaya’s call for an amendment to extend the limits of a presidential term was not, he stressed, illegitimate. Indeed, other countries in the region had done so through various plebiscites. Moreover, the peoples of the world should be allowed to choose their Governments. Underlining his total and unconditional solidarity with President Zelaya and calling him “the only legitimate and constitutional Head of the Honduran Government”, he said he had already sent a letter to President Zelaya inviting him to come and update the General Assembly on the situation in Honduras.
JORGE ARTURO REINA IDIAQUEZ ( Honduras) said he came before the Assembly at a tragic moment, but he was sure it would be a transitory one and the country would emerge strengthened. He represented the true President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. It was a pity that the coup d’état had come on the scene at this time. But, once again forces that were opposed to democracy and the will of the people had a lease on life. It was not pleasant to denounce a violation of a Government. The Government had a mandate to govern that was gained in fully transparent elections.
Civilization as we know it today would not exist without democracy. His country had lost its democratic system of government. A coup against the legitimate President, President Zelaya, had sent him, in the middle of the night, into a neighbouring country, and his human rights had been violated. A non-binding referendum on constitutional issues, that was to have taken placed on Sunday, was not enough motive to have very conservative forces violate the constitutional order of the country, he said. There was not enough violent motive to violate the country’s Constitution and laws. The President had aimed to strengthen the Constitution and democracy of the country.
Honduras hoped that the Assembly would, as many other countries and regional groups already had, universally condemn the coup d’état in Honduras. He hoped that the President would be restored and that human rights would be upheld and no other Government would be recognized that would be born through this coup. He was very thankful to many countries, especially Costa Rica, for their support. He called for the saving of the life of the President and his family and upholding the rights of all Hondurans; the return of the President; and that any illegitimate Government that tried to take the place of the present Government not be accepted.
JORGE VALERO (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, rejected and condemned the coup d’état against President Jose Manuel Zeyala, the constitutional President of Honduras, launched by the armed forces in connivance with reactionary forces. He demanded the immediate return of the rule of law and restoration of the President’s functions. His delegation did not -- and would not -- recognize any Government that was not the democratically elected Government of President Zeyala, and he urged that the international community not recognize any other Government in Honduras. He called on the Honduran armed forces to immediately return to their headquarters and avoid any incident that might lead to bloodshed. He denounced the kidnapping of the Honduran Foreign Minister and other prominent Honduran figures, and demanded full respect for the dignity of President Zelaya’s family and all members of the Honduran Government. He expressed solidarity with civic demonstrations by Hondurans, who called for the return of President Zeyala, and unconditional solidarity with President Zeyala.
Speaking next in his national capacity, he expressed Venezuela’s support to the Government of President Zelaya and demanded that the coup d’état-instated Government step down. That Government should not be recognized and he demanded President Zeyala’s immediate return. He congratulated the General Assembly President for calling the meeting today and supporting a process of change. In the Americas, the “time of the peoples” was dawning; a new world was emerging and it was breaking the mould of corrupt political groups that oppressed people –- neo-liberal dictatorships that denied human rights. New, plural forms of democracy were being built -– participatory democracies. That process would not come to a halt over the coup d’état in Honduras. Countries must help stop this attempt to turn a regressive tide in history.
Describing past events of torture and murder in the region, he said hope was coming to life again and Honduras would decide the future. That was why Honduras could not be allowed to fall into the hands of oligarchs that had no country to call their own. Coups d’état would not end democratic progress taking place on the continent. A spark of peace had been ignited -- it was a message in the name of the Earth that said no to death and yes to hope. Humankind would free itself and no army or tyrant would be able to overcome that. President Zeyala had been deposed because he wanted to consult the people and pave the way for open participation -– oligarchies feared that, which was why they were conspiring in various countries in the hemisphere. Venezuela did not and would not accept any President other than President Zelaya. Democracy had taken deep root in Honduras and would emerge strengthened after this process. He expressed Venezuela’s firm solidarity with Hondurans. In closing, he called for an international front against fascism.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the coup had breached the democratic order of Honduras. The Rio Group rejected the use of the armed forces and the arbitrary detention of the head of the Government. This breach was unacceptable and inadmissible and was a practice that the countries of the region had categorically rejected. The Rio Group reiterated its adherence to the rule of law, which it believed should transcend any political difference. The immediate order of the Honduran Government should be returned immediately and the constitutional President restored, as should all constitutional powers.
He went on to say that the Organization of American States (OAS) had also agreed on a statement condemning the coup and had called for President Zelaya’s immediate return. No Government issuing from this breach would be recognized. The Organization’s permanent council had also condemned all acts of violence, including the arbitrary detention of members of the Honduran Government’s Cabinet. He had been tasked with submitting this statement to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
MARTIN PALOUŠ ( Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he strongly condemned the coup that violated the constitutional order of Honduras. He urged the immediate release of the President and called on all to refrain from violence. He said that all activities should be carried out in accordance with the rule of law. The European Union called for the restoration of the political situation in the country, and called for fair and transparent elections in 2009.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile), speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), vehemently rejected the attempted coup d’état in Honduras, giving his fullest support to President Zeyala. His delegation did not recognize any situation that breached the rule of law or jeopardized stability. He objected to the President’s kidnapping and expressed his delegation’s determination not to recognize any Government other than that of democratically elected President Zeyala. He called for the restoration of democracy and the President, saying that internal conflicts should be solved only in the framework of democratic institutions and the rule of law.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said Chile’s declaration, made yesterday, emphatically condemned the coup d’état in Honduras, which flouted the provisions of the Organization of American States. His Government called for the restoration of democracy and immediate reinstatement of the legitimately elected President, Jose Manuel Zeyala.
In his as role as chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), ABELARDO MORENO (Cuba) said the Bureau’s 118 members strongly condemned the coup d’état carried out against the constitutional President of Honduras, a sister nation that was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Bureau rejected the breach of the democratic constitutional order that had taken place in Honduras and called upon the international community to strongly condemn the coup. It called for the reinstatement of the rule of law in that country and the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the legitimate representative of the Honduran people, President Zelaya.
Speaking on behalf of the Cuban people and Government, he called for the immediate reinstatement of the rule of law in Honduras. The coup had prevented an important democratic referendum from taking place in Honduras on Sunday. He said the Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, and the Ambassadors of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were kidnapped and beaten by the pro-coup military. Other members of the Honduran constitutional Government and their relatives were facing persecution. Cuba called upon all States and members of the international community to condemn the coup and demand the reinstatement of the rule of law in that country and the immediate and unconditional return and full reinstatement of the only legitimate representative of the Honduran people, President Manuel Zelaya.
MARIA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua), joining her voice to statements made on behalf of the Rio Group, Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that today, Central America had committed itself to never again allowing such aggression as a coup d’état to take place in its region. The President had been humiliated by a group of armed mercenaries in the payment of the oligarchy. Nicaragua vigorously condemned the coup and would spare no effort in ensuring that the President was restored to his position. She called on the people of Honduras to arm themselves with courage and let the “putschists” know that their time had passed. All of America, both North and South, rejected their coup.
Calling for respect for the rule of law and the immediate return of the only constitutional leader of Honduras, she stressed that the people of Honduras should further be aware that last night the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas had met in Managua, where it unequivocally condemned the coup. There were no more banana republics where oligarchs could continue to exploit the people with impunity. While these people said they acted in support of democracy, they acted with bare-faced illogic that went against the region’s recent history. All Cabinet members should be released, as should all citizens. She condemned the abduction of the Foreign Minister of Honduras as well as the kidnapping of the ambassadors of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. This flagrant violation of international law was an act of aggression against each respective country that would not go unpunished. Above all, the main breach was against the Honduran democracy. Nothing would quell the desire of the Honduran people for the liberty of which they were currently deprived.
RAYMOND O. WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said his delegation had noted with great concern the forcible removal from office of the democratically elected President of Honduras by certain sections of the military and his forced exile. He was deeply concerned at reports that various Government officials and diplomatic representatives had been detained and might have been physically harmed. Strongly condemning such actions, which breached respect for the rule of law and human rights, he said his delegation maintained full support for President Zelaya and called for his immediate reinstatement. He deplored the violence and called on the perpetrators to desist from such actions. In accordance with the provisions of the Organization of American States Charter, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, he affirmed support for the OAS to contribute to restoring normalcy to Honduras and for the use of the good offices of its Secretary-General.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), supporting the statements made on behalf of the Central American Integration System and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the weekend’s events in Honduras were an anachronism, as well as a blow and offence for all Central Americans. It was not in vain that, after a long period of military dictatorship in four of the five countries of the region, Central Americans had, with the aid of the international community, built a road that led to peace and democracy. They believed that the rule of law had been established and the activities of the armed forces limited to those of any army in a democratic country. Guatemala, thus, condemned in the strongest terms the use of force by the Honduran armed forces to resolve different points of view between the State’s different powers. The laws and Constitution of Honduras contained mechanisms for resolving such situations within an institutional framework. For that reason, Guatemala continued to recognize the constitutionally-elected Government presided over by President Jose Manuel Zelaya as the only authority in Honduras and demanded that he be reinstated in the exercise of power. Guatemala hoped that the constitutional crisis in Honduras would find its solution within the framework of democratic institutions and the rule of law.
ENRIQUILLO A. DEL ROSARIO CEBALLOS ( Dominican Republic) said he reiterated the unambiguous opinion that rejected the coup in Honduras against the legitimate Government headed by Manuel Zelaya. The Dominican Republic supported the statements of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned countries. This coup d’état was a step backward and was a violation of the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). The Dominican Government demands that the Zelayan Government, chosen by the Honduran people, be returned. He supported the work of the OAS, which was the ideal forum for the defence of legality and democracy in the region.
The coup was a violation of the will of the people. This coup d’état had to be rejected because it could be an infectious disease that would affect other countries in the region. The democratic process had been interrupted and this was a coup against all democratic processes.
TAWFEEQ AHMED ALMANSOOR (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, firmly believed that dissent between different parties must be settled through peace, could not have recourse to violence to solve such problems. As such, he called for the return of the legitimate Government of Jose Manuel Zelaya, the President of Honduras, and liberation of those detained. The sacred character of the Constitution must be respected.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil), aligning herself with the Rio Group and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said her delegation had vehemently condemned the actions that had resulted in the removal of Honduran President Zeyala. Brazil had called for President Zelaya’s return to his functions immediately and without conditions. Such actions had violated democracy and did not correspond to the political development of the region. Questions of the Constitution must be solved in the context of peace. Brazil was encouraged that the breaking of the constitutional order had been unanimously condemned, notably by regional agencies, including the Organization of American States and Central American Integration System. The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, in a special session yesterday, rejected the coup d’état and demanded the immediate return of the constitutional President to his functions. He supported that organization, which had all the political and legal instruments necessary to support democracy in Honduras. Brazil would continue to participate in efforts to restore a sense of normalcy to that country.
MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA (Ecuador), voicing support for the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), reiterated her country’s most energetic rejection of the coup d’état against the legitimately elected Government of President Zelaya. She reaffirmed the repudiation by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States of the breaking of the constitutional order of Honduras. As a member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, Ecuador underscored that group’s demands that the military forces end their takeover and allow President Zelaya’s return. Indeed, Ecuador would not recognize any Government other than his.
She further noted that Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, had urged the people of Honduras to stand against the coup’s perpetrators. For its part, the General Assembly should demand the immediate return of the President to continue his Government. Ecuador further supported the Assembly President’s invitation to President Zelaya to personally address this body.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said he joined the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement that had been presented by Cuba. Algeria unambiguously condemned the changing of a Government through non-constitutional means, wherever that happened in the world. Algeria upheld the principles that were contained in the Charter of the United Nations. He condemned the action that had cut President Zelaya’s mandate short and called for the restoration of the President, within the framework of the Constitution of Honduras. Algeria expressed its solidarity with the countries of Latin America and supported all actions they took to re-establish the Constitution of Honduras.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said her country had yesterday joined its colleagues in the Organization of American States in condemning the coup in Honduras and demanding the safe and unconditional return of President Zelaya, so that he could continue as his country’s constitutional leader. As stipulated by the Organization’s Permanent Council, the United States refused to recognize any Government not led by him. Further, United States President Barack Obama had called on all actors to resolve any dispute peacefully through dialogue and free of any outside influence. The United States would continue to work through the Organization of American States to help the Honduran people, and, to that end, she called on the international community to support that body’s efforts and to stand together in calling for the peaceful restoration of democracy and constitutional order in Honduras. Any external efforts to intervene in that process were not acceptable.
PABLO SOLÓN-ROMERO (Bolivia), saying he aligned himself with the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Rio Group, and Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, noted that the statements of those groups had clearly condemned the coup d’état carried out in Honduras. All rejected the destruction of the rule of law and called for the immediate return of President Zelaya as the only constitutional President of Honduras. That restitution process must take place as soon as possible. Every hour that passed added to the violation of the rule of law in that country. Bolivia would recognize no other Government other than that of Jose Manuel Zelaya. The press had reported that perpetrators had portrayed themselves as having carried out constitutional succession, but nothing was further from the truth. He could not accept that Honduras was in a process of constitutional succession -– a coup had taken place and the coup officers must return to their barracks.
“We always favour dialogue,” he said, adding that presidential restitution was paramount. He was concerned at talk of an election process through a provisional Government. Elections would take place in Honduras, but only under the Presidency of Jose Manuel Zelaya. Anything else would be tantamount to violating the rule of law. Bolivian President Evo Morales was among the first to take a stand against the coup in Honduras, as Bolivia last year had experienced the same. Airports had been occupied like offices, and attempts were made to occupy the police headquarters. The coup had been cut short. Last year, in Bolivia’s coup, the key was the people’s mobilization, and he conveyed salutations to Hondurans from his country’s peoples.
DIEGO LIMERES ( Argentina) supported the statement made by Mexico, on behalf of the Rio Group, and made by Chile on behalf of UNASUR. Argentina energetically condemned the coup d’état in Honduras and called for an immediate restitution of President Zelaya to office. Argentina also called for the respect of the rights of all people of Honduras and the human rights of all those in the administration.
JAIRO MONTOYA ( Colombia) supported the statement made by Mexico, on behalf of the Rio Group, and of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He said the events of the past weekend were deplorable events in a region of peace, democracy and development. The Government of Colombia yesterday had issued a statement on the events, which indicated its deep consternation at the break-up of the constitutionally supported regime, and it condemned the use of force that had expelled the democratically-elected Government of President Zelaya. He called for legal constitutional order in the country.
Colombia supported the actions take by the OAS, with a view to finding democratic solutions to the incident, he said. The OAS had adopted resolution 953 and agreed to convene a special assembly of OAS on Tuesday to adopt the necessary measures. Colombia supported the highly valued role of that agency in the situation.
Categorically condemning the coup in Honduras, CAMILLO GONSALVES ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said that illegal action was wholly unwarranted and represented a gross violation of the rule of law. He called for the full restoration of President’s Zelaya’s Government. In their naked grab for power, the military leaders had dishonoured themselves. The architects of that crime had indeed heralded a return to barbarism. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines would not recognize any interim Government as legitimate.
Stressing that the page had been turned against ignominious power-grabs in the Western Hemisphere, he said “we all have an obligation to ensure the people’s will is protected”. As a member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, his country was doubly outraged by this undemocratic action against a member State. He saluted the bravery of the Honduran people, who had signalled their rejection of the coup. It was hoped that a peaceful resolution would be found. To that end, the just principles of human rights, democracy and respect of the rule of law must be reaffirmed.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) said her Government had expressed, through its President, its profound condemnation for the rupture of constitutional order in Honduras. It had also called on all national agencies to contribute to the restoration of constitutionality. Her Government demanded faithful compliance with the democratic Charter of the Organization of American States, and respect for the United Nations Charter, notably its focus on the need to solve conflict through peaceful means, in line with international law. El Salvador also demanded respect for the physical and moral integrity of Hondurans, including officials accredited in that country. Supporting the Rio Group’s position, she reiterated support for the rule of law, exercise of citizens’ freedoms and subordination of the armed forces to constitutionally established civilian authorities. She condemned illegal arrests of Cabinet members and civil society leaders in Honduras and demanded their immediate release. In closing, she supported the General Assembly President’s initiative to invite President Zeyala to address the Assembly.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO ( Spain) added his voice to the statement of the Czech Republic made on behalf of the European Union. Spain was among the first countries that took a stand against this use of force in Honduras. Spain’s President yesterday made a public statement, in which he condemned the arrest and illegal expulsion of the constitutional President Zelaya. Spain demanded his restitution to the post to which he was democratically elected.
No solution that was outside the constitutional framework of the country was allowed and Spain expressed support for the OAS and its work. Spain would continue its support with other countries in the region and the international community. Spain was fully committed to democracy and the rule of law in all parts of the world and expressed its solidarity with the people of Honduras.
JAIRO HERNÁNDEZ MILIÁN (Costa Rica), adding his voice to the statement made on behalf of the Rio Group, said that yesterday, after the plane carrying President Zelaya had landed, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias had welcomed him. Costa Rica deplored the way in which President Zelaya had been forced to leave his country. As President Arias said yesterday, “We believed that the long night of dictatorships in Latin America was over.” It was lamentable to have to witness the break up of the constitutional order in Honduras, and, as the Central America Integration System had done, Costa Rica demanded the restoration of President Zelaya. Nor would it recognize any interim Government between now and the elections already scheduled for later this year. It was hoped that this institution would able to find a formula for the President’s restoration.
YAVEL FRANCIS LANUZA ( Panama), supporting the Rio Group and Non-Aligned movement, said her Government had categorically rejected the destabilization of Honduras through an illegal military action. Panama’s President rejected the kidnapping of Honduran President Zeyala. The region was experiencing a democratization process, and that made any attempt to revert to unconstitutional actions all the more unacceptable. She called on the international community to reject destabilizing actions and to help restore order in Honduras, with the immediate restitution of President Zeyala. She also supported regional institutions, including the Central American Integration System and the Organization of American States, which had taken a stand against a situation that endangered the consolidation of democracy in Latin America. In closing, she demanded respect for those who had been kidnapped or who had disappeared in the midst of such a deplorable military action.
JANINE ELIZABETH COYE-FELSON ( Belize) expressed her solidarity with the people and Government of Honduras and proclaimed the supremacy of the rule of law. She called for the return of constitutional order in the country and the immediate return of President Zelaya. She called for the full respect of the rule of law in Honduras.
JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru) expressed support for the invitation extended to President Zelaya to address the General Assembly. His Government energetically condemned the break-up of the Government in Honduras. It called for full support of that constitutional Government and of the efforts by the Organization of American States to restore President Zelaya. Consequent to this position, Peru supported statements on behalf of the Rio Group, Union of South American Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement. The international community must contribute to the restoration of democracy in Honduras. To that end, regional groups had a major role to play and should be supported by all.
He said that, while the Assembly President had earlier referred to Peru as one of those countries that had made efforts to extend presidential terms, that extension had indeed happened in 1993, but had subsequently been rolled back. This did not mean, however, that countries could not make adjustments to such limits, in strict compliance with their constitutions.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), supporting the Rio Group and the Union of South American Nations, expressed his Government’s support for constitutionality, given recent events in Honduras. Uruguay repudiated the kidnapping and expulsion of the Honduran President, which violated the Constitution. He condemned all violent actions and the arbitrary arrests of the Honduran Secretary of State and other ambassadors, in flagrant violation of international law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. His Government supported the decisions of the Organization of American States. It was with grief that he noted the reiteration of events that he thought had been buried in the past. Once again, the “rattle of swords” would silence the legitimate voice of the people. Such sabre rattling was often followed by the silencing of freedoms. However, no one was allowed to take precedence over a constitutional order that people had given themselves to regulate civil life. A Honduran Government without democratic legitimacy would never find an interlocutor in Uruguay.
ANTONIO PEDRO MONTEIRO LIMA ( Cape Verde) said the coup was repulsive to the Constitution of Honduras and demanded an urgent call for alert around the world. It was a violation of the rights of all people to live in peace without conflict. The United Nations condemned coups d’état, as it denounced all violations of human rights and of the rule of law. Cape Verde associated itself with countries that had launched appeals for a safe return of President Zelaya and supported those negotiations.
He said this was not just a coup d’état against the President of Honduras, but a coup against all people who wished to live in peace and democracy. Everyone in all parts of the world were saying no to coups d’état.
Mr. D’ESCOTO announced that President Zelaya would address the General Assembly tomorrow at 11 a.m. The Assembly would then proceed to take action on the draft resolution on the situation in Honduras that had already been introduced. Anyone wishing to do so may become a party to it.
The representative of Honduras said a draft resolution that brought together the sentiments that had been expressed today would be introduced as soon as possible.
Mr. D’ESCOTO said he stood corrected on the draft’s status. Nevertheless, while the day before had been a sad day, now there was much to be happy about. Chiefly, the widespread repudiation of the coup. Stressing that this was a time that called for clarity, not ambiguity, in speech, he saluted the interventions, which had been, with the possible exception of one, quite clear. He was glad the United States representative had said that her Government would only recognize the constitutional President Jose Manuel Zelaya. Underlining that position, he said “we do not recognize any other Government than the legitimate constitutional Government of Honduras”. Such unity should be kept and utilized when legitimate Governments were threatened in other latitudes.
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