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Honduras Coup

Honduras Coup

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Obama warns Honduras coup could set bad precedent (Roundup) Americas News Jun 29, 2009, 21:52 GMT Washington - US President Barack Obama warned Monday the coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya could set a bad precedent for the region, adding the United States will regard him as the country's leader.

'It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition, rather than democratic elections,' Obama said at a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

The Honduran military ousted Zelaya on Sunday and had him flown to Costa Rica, prompting a sharp worldwide rebuke and an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) scheduled for Tuesday in Washington.

'We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there,' Obama said.

Earlier Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday called for the immediate restoration of democracy in Honduras and said Washington was assessing whether the weekend coup will affect US aid to the Central American nation.

'Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country,' Clinton told reporters.

Clinton said the United States will work through the OAS to ensure constitutional and democratic order is returned to Honduras and that the presidential elections planned for November take place on time.

'Much of our assistance is conditioned on the integrity of the democratic system,' Clinton said.

'But if we were able to get to a status quo that returned to the rule of law and constitutional order within a relatively short period of time, I think that would be a good outcome.' During their meeting, Obama and Uribe discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the war on drugs, and Obama pledged to begin fresh discussions on reviving a free trade agreement.

Under former president George W Bush, the two countries signed a trade pact, but Democrats in Congress blocked its ratification, citing concerns about human rights in Colombia.

Obama said he received assurances from Uribe that his government is doing everything possible to promote human rights in the South American country.
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