OAS fears civil war in Honduras

July 17, 2009

The diplomatic stalemate that´s keeping Honduras in a state of conflict has world leaders searching for alternatives.

Though the Organization of American States (OAS), an umbrella group for countries in the western hemisphere, is pushing for stronger pressure, few are advocating intervention by force.

“I think we all want an exit out of this crisis,” said OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who urged member states to pursue peace.

Despite heightening tension both within Honduras and outside, the major players on the world stage have granted Costa Rican President Oscar Arias 72 more hours to continue conversations with the feuding parties.

“I believe the alternative – if we don´t (give Arias this extension) – results in something that none of us want; and that is violence in Honduras,” Insulza said, adding, “There is no civil war in Honduras and we hope there won´t be one.”

Yet, Insulza encouraged countries to continue putting pressure on the country of 7 million people, which is said to be the third poorest country in the Americas.

“The country can´t live permanently under the conditions that are there,” he said, hoping trade embargoes and reduced aid would lead the de facto government to relinquish control.

Following Sunday´s dialogue, the U.S. State Department called on members of the OAS to “underscore their commitment to the peaceful resolution of political disputes through dialogue.”

The Canadian government added its support of continued mediation.

“The return of Manuel Zelaya to Honduras should happen only when a peaceful solution is found and the conditions are appropriate,” said Peter Kent, Canada´s secretary of state for foreign affairs for the Americas. “Actions resulting in violence are not in the best interests of the people of Honduras.”

And though Zelaya has been threatening to return by force, his delegation told media at the conclusion of Sunday´s talks that they too want peace for their country.

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