San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. pulls millions of dollars in aid to Honduras

The United States stepped up pressure Thursday against the de facto government of Honduras, formally terminating millions of dollars in aid to the country for failing to adopt a Costa Rica-brokered reconciliation plan intended to end the Central American country´s more than two-month-long political crisis.

“Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras,” according to a statement from the U.S. State Department. 

The pulled aid totals as much as $22 million that would be funneled through a broad range of assistance programs, according to a report in The New York Times.

The U.S. also hardened its tone against the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti – who was named president after the June 28, court-ordered overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya – now labeling the ouster a full-fledged “coup d´etat.”

The U.S. State Department said it would not recognize the result of presidential elections slated for November as long as the accord drafted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias isn´t met.

“At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections,” the government statement said. “A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San José talks to move expeditiously to agreement.”

The announcement came after an hour-long meeting between Zelaya and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, newswire EFE reported.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Núñez, Micheletti´s finance minister, said the aid was meant to assist in programs including roadway works and a project to help some 18,000 Honduran farm workers, according to EFE.

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