Statement by Minister of State Kent on the Situation in Honduras

No. 200 - July 19, 2009 (12:30 a.m. EDT) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today issued the following statement on the ongoing political crisis in Honduras:

"In light of the mediation process involving representatives of President Zelaya of Honduras and the de facto government this weekend in Costa Rica, Canada wishes to stand with our colleagues in the region and reiterate the call for restraint in the timing of President Zelaya’s return to Honduras.

"A return to Honduras should only occur when a peaceful solution has been found and conditions are appropriate. A return to Honduras prior to a negotiated resolution is strongly discouraged. Actions resulting in violence will not be in the best interests of the people of Honduras.

"While we are disappointed that the political crisis has not yet been resolved, Canada strongly supports the efforts of President Arias of Costa Rica, a man well respected for the role he has played in past Central American peace processes. We call on all parties to negotiate in good faith to seek a peaceful resolution to the present political crisis that restores democracy and respects the Honduran constitution.

"As tensions mount, we call on all parties to condemn any and all incitement to violence in this ongoing crisis and to respect the right of Hondurans to peace, order and good governance.

"We will continue to closely follow developments on the ground and stand ready to play a constructive role, both bilaterally and multilaterally."

For updated information on the situation in Honduras, please consult:

Situation in Honduras

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Eleanor Johnston
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
613-947-8981

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Backgrounder

President Zelaya was removed from power and expelled from Honduras on June 28, the same day he had planned to hold a referendum. Both the Congress and the Supreme Court had earlier declared that the referendum violated the Honduran constitution.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada was among the leaders within the international community calling for a return to democratic order.

On June 30, the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to condemn the coup and called for the reinstatement of President Zelaya and a return to democratic order in Honduras. Canada, under the leadership of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was a co-sponsor of this resolution.

Later that same day, the Organization of American States (OAS) convened an emergency General Assembly in Washington, D.C. The Canadian delegation was led by the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas). Minister Kent led efforts to achieve consensus in condemning the coup and encouraging OAS Secretary General Insulza to find a solution to the crisis, including a return to democratic order and the reinstatement of President Zelaya.

On July 4, the special session of the OAS General Assembly reconvened, during which all countries, including Canada, voted to suspend Honduras from the OAS as the mission of Secretary General Insulza had failed. There was also a call for continued dialogue and reinforcement of all diplomatic initiatives available and for all parties to work together toward a peaceful restoration of democracy, and a repeated call for the reinstatement of President Zelaya.

On July 9, a mediation process, led by President Arias of Costa Rica and involving representatives of President Zelaya and of the de facto government, was undertaken. This process, seeking a peaceful and negotiated solution to the crisis, resumed on July 18 and will continue on July 19.