Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made remarks today about the military-civil coup that took place in Honduras yesterday against President Manuel Zelaya. While condemning the coup, she also stated Washington was not "calling for the reinstatement" of President Zelaya but rather was still "feeling out" and "monitoring" the situation. She also said the Obama administration was not considering cutting of aid to Honduras at this time, despite a coup government being in place. After wavering around saying a "coup d'etat" had taken place in Honduras yesterday, today Clinton said the United States believes the unrest in Honduras "has evolved into a coup." Nice to know.
President Obama spoke about Honduras at the end of a meeting with right-wing President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia in the Oval Office. The two were meeting on different issues unrelated to the Honduran coup, regarding a free trade agreement between both states that has been stuck in the US Congress for over a year due to congressmembers' protests against human rights violations in Colombia. Obama referred to Honduras very briefly, stating, " the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a "not legal" coup and that he remains the country's president." (Is there such thing as a 'legal coup'?)
From Associated Press:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a "not legal" coup and that he remains the country's president.
Obama spoke to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday after meetings with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Obama said he wanted to be very clear that President Zelaya is the democratically elected president.
Obama pledged the U.S. to "stand on the side of democracy" and to work with other nations and international entities to resolve the matter peacefully.
NOTE THAT CLINTON'S STATEMENTS ARE FAIRLY AMBIGUOUS, SHE LEAVES ROOM FOR WORKING WITH THE COUP LEADERS....AND SOMEWHAT JUSTIFIES THEIR ACTIONS...
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the United States believes the unrest in Honduras "has evolved into a coup," but the U.S. is not demanding that deposed President Manuel Zelaya be restored to office.
She also said the military coup has not triggered an automatic cutoff of U.S. aid to Honduras.
Clinton told reporters at the State Department that a delegation from the Organization of American States will be heading to Honduras as early as Tuesday "to begin working with the parties" on the restoration of constitutional order.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama has not spoken with Zelaya since the Honduran leader was forced into exile. Gibbs said it was premature to talk about whether the U.S. would withdraw its ambassador or seek to cut off aid from Honduras.
Clinton stopped short of saying the Obama administration would demand the return to power of the deposed president, who was forcibly removed from the country on Sunday morning by the Honduran military.
A reporter asked whether the administration would insist that Zelaya be restored to power.
"We haven't laid out any demands that we're insisting on, because we're working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives, which are shared broadly," Clinton replied.
"So we think that the arrest and expulsion of a president is certainly cause for concern that has to be addressed. And it's not just with respect to whether our aid continues, but whether democracy in Honduras continues."
Clinton cited a "fast-moving set of circumstances" in Honduras that require close monitoring.
"Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country," Clinton said at her first news conference since breaking her right elbow in a fall at the State Department June 17.
"As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that led to yesterday's events in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras," she added.
While stating that circumstances in Honduras had "evolved into a coup," Clinton added that it was a fast-moving situation with an uncertain outcome. "So we are withholding any formal legal determination. But I think the reality is that having expelled the president, we have a lot of work to do to try to help the Hondurans get back on the democratic path that they've been on for a number of years now," Clinton said.
She said the United States is looking at its aid program for the country and considering the implications of the forced removal of Zelaya for continued American assistance.