US puts off decision to cut aid to Honduras until Monday

Source: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States has delayed any decision to cut aid to Honduras until Monday in order to give a diplomatic initiative time to return ousted President Manuel Zelaya to power, a US official said Wednesday.

"We’re evaluating the impact of these actions (that ousted Zelaya) on our assistance programs," a senior official in President Barack Obama’s administration told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

"The focus of our assistance programs is the well-being of the Honduran people," the official said on a conference call. "That remains our focus as we conduct this evaluation."

But he added it "is important to note" that the US government is currently working with its partners in the 34-member Organization of American States (OAS) to try to restore "democratic and constitutional order" to Honduras following Sunday’s coup.

"We will wait until the (OAS) secretary general has finished his diplomatic initiative and reports back to the (OAS) general assembly on July 6 before we take any further action in relationship to assistance," the official said.

The OAS general assembly instructed Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to undertake "diplomatic initiatives aimed at" returning Zelaya to power within the next three days.

If these efforts prove fruitless, Honduras will be barred from the OAS, in keeping with the group’s charters, according to a communique issued Wednesday.

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