OAS mission in Honduras ends without breakthrough

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A mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Honduras seeking a solution to the country's political deadlock ended Tuesday without breakthrough.

The mission, led by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, hoped to persuade the interim government into accepting a deal and having the ousted President Manuel Zelaya back to power until a national election is held in November.

The San Jose Accord, brokered last month by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, also called for the establishment of a national reconciliation government formed by the interim regime and the ousted president.

"Still, Mr. (Roberto) Micheletti and his supporters do not have the disposition to fully accept" the deal, said Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno.

Nevertheless, the mission, which included foreign ministers from Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Jamaica and Dominican Republic, insisted that San Jose Accord should provide an "immediate, balanced and viable path to restore the democratic order in Honduras."

The mission arrived in Honduras on Monday amid a taxi drivers' protest demanding the payment of a bonus by the Honduran interim government. Supporters of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya also announced protests.

It had met with officials of the interim government, members of Zelaya's government and the deposed president's wife, Xiomara Castro.

Micheletti, who took over as interim president hours after the June 28 coup, said his government would stick to the plan to hold a presidential election in November.

"There will be elections whether they are recognized or not," Micheletti said, adding that his country could survive any economic sanctions imposed over the refusal to reinstate Zelaya.

"We are not afraid of anyone's embargo," Micheletti told the ministers. "This country can get by without your support."

The United States said on Tuesday that it would cut its visa services in Honduras in a move that increased pressure on the de facto government.

"we are suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services in the consular section of our embassy in Honduras, effective Aug. 26," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly said that the US move to limit visa services in Honduras was intended to reinforce the ongoing OAS efforts to persuade the de facto government to accept the San Jose deal.

"We firmly believe a negotiated solution is the appropriate way forward and the San Jose Accord is the best solution," the spokesman said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2009)

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