July 20th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

Clinton tough with de facto Honduran leader

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/honduras.clinton/art.clinton.zelaya.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton says she told President Jose Manuel Zelaya the U.S. supports a restoration of democratic order."]

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the de facto head Honduras' government Sunday, warning of harsh consequences for the U.S.-Honduran relationship if he fails to accept a proposal by an OAS mediator to end the standoff with ousted president Jose Manuel Zelaya.

Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley told reporters Monday that Clinton had a "very tough phone call" with de facto President Roberto Micheletti by phone from India, where she urged him to accept mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and "helped him understand the potential consequences of a failure to take advantage of this mediation."

The call came as pressure for a resolution to a political standoff in Honduras increased after the breakdown of talks between the two sides over the weekend.

"She made clear, if the de facto regime needed to be reminded, that we seek a restoration of democratic and constitutional order, a peaceful resolution," Crowley said. "She reminded him about the consequences for Honduras if they fail to accept the principles that President Arias has laid out."

Arias' seven-point plan calls for Zeyala's return as president, but with the creation of national unity including representatives from all political parties. The plan also moves up the November election to the end of October and legal campaign period to the beginning of August. Command of the military would also be handed over to a supreme electoral council one month before the election

The plan also gives immunity to both sides for any crimes committed as part of the political crisis and creates an electoral commission made of Honduran and international notable persons.

Zelaya has accepted the proposal. Micheletti has accepted some of its principles, but has refused Zeyala's return as president, saying can only come back to Honduras and stand trail for his political crimes.

Crowley said Micheletti's failure to accept the proposal would have "has a significant impact in terms of aid and consequences - potentially longer-term consequences...for the relationship between Honduras and the United States."

The European Union on Monday suspended aid to the Central American country, which has found itself increasingly isolated since the June 28 military-led coup that ousted Zelaya. The United States has suspended some programs but has not instituted a full suspension of aid pending a review of the situation.

Although Crowley said the US supported Zeyala's return for the remainder as his term, it was more about the restoration of democratic and constitutional order and the ability of Honduras to move forward with new elections.

"We shouldn't personalize this," he said. "It is not about a particular leader."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Mommy has apparently spoken, and Honduras had better do what she says or else. Give me a break. This reeks of W's foreign policy (do what we say foreign leaders or there will be consequences for not kowtowing to the great almighty US). I personally think the people of Honduras and interim government of Honduras spoke loud and clear when their former president was ousted. Looks like the real pitt bull wearing lipstick needs a reality check on what country is hers to control and which one isn't.

    July 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm |