(No. 236 - August 26, 2009 - 8:15 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), yesterday concluded his visit to Honduras as part of the Delegation of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS).
"The OAS ministerial mission went to Honduras with the intent of listening, exchanging ideas and advancing the signature of the San José Accord," said Minister of State Kent. "Unfortunately, the conditions do not yet exist for the full approval of the Accord.
"We had a very frank and open exchange with Honduran political and social actors. It was clear, based on our discussions, that there was considerable support for the general framework of the Accord, but that serious preoccupations remain with some of the details.
"We reiterated that the San José Accord is the best way forward for national reconciliation in Honduras, and we urged players involved to immediately move to support it. While all parties embraced the concept of national reconciliation, they need to show greater action and intent, including support for the Accord. Canada will continue to actively encourage support for the Accord and will work closely with other hemispheric partners and the OAS to provide assurances of strong engagement by the international community.
"I left Honduras with a sense that we had made progress, but there is much work to be done. By participating in this mission I was able to gain first-hand understanding of the polarization that deeply divides the country. The Canadian government is very preoccupied with the current political situation in Honduras, which is having a direct and negative impact on the Honduran people.
"As a country of the Americas, Canada and Canadians have a stake in the future of democracy in the region. Our engagement in the Americas seeks to support and advance democracy, prosperity, security, respect for human rights and the rule of law in the hemisphere."
The OAS Mission of Foreign Ministers visited Honduras from August 24 to 25 and comprised representatives from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.
The ministerial delegation held meetings with representatives of the government of President Manuel Zelaya, with Roberto Micheletti, as well as with the Attorney General and representatives of the National Congress, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Armed Forces and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. In addition, the delegation met with members of the private sector, church leaders, all of the presidential candidates and representatives of civil society.
The San José Accord is a 12-point roadmap that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias proposed on July 24 in his capacity as chief mediator. The Accord includes proposals on the conditions for the return of President Zelaya, a transition unity government and early elections.
While in Honduras, Minister of State Kent also met with Canadian non-governmental organizations and business representatives living and working in the country to get their perspective on recent developments.
For updated background information, please visit Situation in Honduras.
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