Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Secretary Clinton: Costa Rica's President to Mediate Honduran Crisis

Today the Secretary held a private meeting with Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya. After the meeting she spoke to the press and revealed that the United States will support an international mediation effort to restore democratic order in Honduras.

The Secretary condemned the violence in the region and urged a peaceful resoltion:

"We call upon all parties to refrain from acts of violence and to seek a peaceful, constitutional, and lasting solution to the serious divisions in Honduras through dialogue. To that end, we have been working with a number of our partners in the hemisphere to create a negotiation, a dialogue that could lead to a peaceful resolution of this situation."
Secretary Clinton announced that Costa Rican President Óscar Arias was designated to mediate talks, beginning on Thursday, to resolve Honduras's political crisis. Both sides in the dispute had agreed to work with Mr. Arias. Mr. Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for brokering an end to civil wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua and the Secretary called him "the natural person to assume this role."

Honduras's acting president, Roberto Micheletti, applauded the designation of Mr. Arias by saying, "We are open to dialogue."

During the Q&A, the Secretary touched on a lot of important issues including one I found to not only be very important, but clearly showed a new way of thinking at the State level for the United States:

"It has been my view for several days that the most useful role we could play is to convince all that are directly concerned, not only President Zelaya, but also the de facto regime, the OAS, the UN, everyone, that we needed to have a process where the Hondurans themselves sat down and talked to each other. And that is – that’s been my goal, and I believe that we are on the brink of that happening. I’m hoping that it actually occurs soon.

So we have tried through our good offices to get people to this point. And we’re very grateful for the willingness of President Arias to serve in this position, and we’re also appreciative of the efforts of the OAS as well."

Also, President Obama publicly backed Mr. Zelaya's reinstatement today. He said in a speech in Moscow, that even though the U.S. may disagree with Mr. Zelaya, it supports his restoration.

"We do so because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not," Mr. Obama said.

Although things may look like they are under control here in the U.S., passions were still running high in Honduras today. Both supporters and non-supporters of Zelaya held protests and demonstrations in Tegucigalpa.

In the photo above you can see Mr. Zelaya's wife (bottom, giving the thumbs up) marching with thousands of demonstrators who carried a simulated red-splattered shroud symbolizing the protester killed Sunday. Read the Secretary's full remarks to the press here or watch below:

P.S.- Love the Official State Department Sling. That Hillary is always thinkin'!


Nancy in Cali said...

after watching MJ's sad, sad memorial all day. Seeing Hillary's smiling face in her royal blue jacket is just what I needed to brighten up my day!!

Hillary Clinton Army said...

Is that a State Department emblem on her sling? Cool!

Stacy said...

The corporation that originally had their logo on the sling must be so bummed right now- no more free advertising!

I hope Hillary does more of these Q&A at the top of the daily press briefing- she does a better job than anyone of articulating US policy on Honduras, or US policy on anything, for that matter...and it will help keep the media from beating the "where in the world is the Secy of State" drum!

And of course, my hope that she does more of these Q&As has *nothing* at all to do with my selfish need for daily Hillary pics and brightcove state dept. videos? Nope, not at all! :)

Sarah said...

yes that IS a state department logo on Hillarys sling. AWESOME right?

and yes seeing Hillary address the press is always a great surprise... i wish she would do a daily briefing too! not only does it keep everyone in the know but it gets that hillary fix we all so desperately need!

just as an aside... i was a little bummed that nothing on Hillarys meeting with Zelaya got on any of the cable news shows tonite... she is brokering a peace deal with multiple countries and parties involved and sarah palin is allll oooover thhhheee tttvvvvv!

lets get back to some news that people ACTUALLY care about, like Hillary and Zelaya or Obama in Russia??

ok ok enough venting :)

Stacy said...

Sarah- exactly, then the media will have the nerve to come out and say "hey, where's the Secy of State? Why isn't she out working on foreign policy and diplomacy...?" It's infuriating.

Laura Rozen at 'The Cable' says Hillary is giving a major speech next week to the CFR before she goes to India! I don't think we know an exact date yet- she leaves on the 17th for her trip so I guess it would be in the day or two leading up to it?

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