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Tensions continue to rise in Honduras following the removal and forced exile last month of President Manuel Zelaya. Demonstrations and counter protests have gripped the capital Tegucigalpa, including a standoff at the airport between the president's supporters and members of the military. Both sides in the crisis should work to avoid such confrontations so a peaceful means can be found to restore democratic order in Honduras.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has underscored the United States' commitment to helping end the crisis by meeting personally with President Zelaya. Following this meeting, the Secretary announced U.S. support for Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to serve as a mediator for the conflict, a role that would support ongoing efforts by the Organization of American States, the OAS. Zelaya’s return to his country should occur in the context of a solution that restores the democratic order in Honduras.
All Hondurans, regardless of their views about President Zelaya and the actions taken against him, need to lower their rhetoric and moderate their actions to enhance prospects for a successful outcome of the mediation efforts underway. It is in the best interest of all parties and the nation itself that calmer heads prevail so lasting solutions may be found for the serious divisions affecting Honduras.
The U.S. is not acting unilaterally in this regard, but in concert with other members of the OAS, which unanimously moved to suspend Honduras from participation in the hemispheric forum. The U.S. regrets the need for such action and looks forward to the day when circumstances will allow the measure to be lifted. Similarly, it calls on all OAS member-states to act individually and in concert in a manner that protects the well-being of the Honduran people by ensuring continued outreach to Honduran civil society, maintaining the flow of humanitarian assistance, and rejecting the use of violence for political change.