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Honduran political leaders took a selfless and historic step in reaching an agreement to resolve the crisis that has brought their nation to a standstill. Honduras' Congress will be asked to approve the deal next after consultation with the Supreme Court, which hopefully sets the stage for President Manuel Zelaya to return to office, elections to proceed November 29 to choose his successor, and a power-sharing government to function until the new president is sworn in.
The United States worked tirelessly to bring the parties together and reach the accord, building on negotiations initiated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and continued by the Organization of American States. Tensions ran high for months following President Zelaya's removal and forced exile in a constitutional dispute over his possible re-election. Although much work remains to be done in terms of implementing the accord, the agreement was negotiated by Hondurans through dialogue, and in that respect should serve as a model of crisis resolution for all nations.
"This is a big step forward for the Inter-American system and its commitment to democracy as embodied in the Inter-American Charter," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in hailing the agreement. "I'm very proud that I was part of the process, that the United States was instrumental in the process. But I'm mostly proud of the people of Honduras who have worked very hard to have the matter resolved peacefully."
As the settlement goes forward, the United States will continue to help Honduras prepare for the November 29 election, working with the government and international observers to ensure it is free, fair and legitimate.