TEGUCIGALPA – U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos arrived in Tegucigalpa on Tuesday to join a commission set to verify compliance with the accord reached last week by deposed Honduran President Mel Zelaya and the de facto regime installed by the June 28 coup.
Accompanying Lagos and Solis was the Organization of American States secretary for Political Affairs, Victor Rico, and the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Craig Kelly.
“I hope we can put all our efforts into moving forward the accord that was signed by the Hondurans,” Lagos said in brief remarks to reporters.
“You have designed a clear road and we’re very honored to be able to play the role of verifiers,” he added.
Meanwhile, Solis said that she felt “very proud” to be in Honduras representing President Barack Obama, who “is very focused on this matter.”
“I want to work with you and see where and how we can find a solution,” she emphasized.
After their arrival in Tegucigalpa, the members of the delegation went to a hotel accompanied by the U.S. envoy to Honduras, Hugo Llorens.
Within hours, the Verification Commission was formally installed, with Lagos and Solis representing the OAS and Jorge Reina, Zelaya’s chief negotiator, and Arturo Corrales, appointed by the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.
Negotiators for Zelaya and Micheletti last Friday signed the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, which set forth that Congress will decide on whether or not to reinstate the deposed president and established the creation this week of the Verification Commission and a national-unity government that is supposed to be in place by Thursday.
Zelaya believes that Congress will have to decide by then regarding his reinstatement in power, but the congressional leadership decided Tuesday to put off a debate of the full legislature pending advisory opinions from the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office.
Supporters of the ousted president denounced that decision as a “delaying tactic” by the de facto regime.
Zelaya’s position is that if Congress votes against his reinstatement or if he has not been reinstated by Thursday, when the unity government must be formed, he will consider the pact to have broken down.
For its part, the de facto government’s stance is that Zelaya, who was expelled by the military and deposed by lawmakers on June 28, is obligated to accept the decision of Congress, even if that is that he may not return to the presidency.
Micheletti has contended all along that Zelaya’s ouster was not a coup, insisting that the soldiers who dragged him from the presidential palace and put him on a plane to Costa Rica were simply enforcing a Supreme Court ban on the president’s planned non-binding plebiscite on the idea of revising the constitution.
Though the coup leaders accuse Zelaya of seeking to extend his stay in office, any potential constitutional change to allow presidential re-election would not have taken place until well after the incumbent stepped down. EFE