BRUSSELS – The European Commission announced Thursday that the European Union will not send observers to the November general election in Honduras, the scene in June of a military coup, because the conditions do not exist for the vote to be held within a framework of democracy and freedom.
The commission’s deputy director general for external relations, Stefano Sannino, said in an interview with Efe that the EU, “like the other Latin American countries, does not acknowledge that those elections can be based in an open, free and democratic context.”
The 27-member European bloc has not recognized the de facto Honduran government led by erstwhile congressional speaker Roberto Micheletti.
The June 28 ouster of elected President Mel Zelaya also led the EU to freeze negotiations on an association accord with Central America, including Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
“For the moment, we have not discussed the association accord much because we’re waiting to see the political evolution” in Honduras, Sannino said.
In addition, he said that the Commission wants to consider the “general attitude of the other Central American countries and see what they want to do.”
Sannino said the EU-Central America negociations could proceed without Honduras, but to do that the parties would have to change the mandate of the talks.
Alternatively, he said, talks could continue “with the recognized government and the authorities from the administration of President Zelaya.”
“We’re discussing with the other Central American partners what is the best way to continue in the talks,” Sannino said.
For now, he said that the EU is focusing on seeing what measures can be taken “to put even stronger pressure on the de facto government,” since the body considers it a priority “for legality to be reestablished in Honduras.”
Sannino characterized as a “very good” solution the so-called San Jose Accord drafted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who has mediated between the parties in the conflict.
The accord calls for Zelaya to return and lead a national unity government until his term ends in January 2010, and for a political amnesty that would protect both the coup plotters and the ousted head of state, who stands accused of various offenses by the de facto regime.
While Zelaya has accepted the plan, Micheletti flatly rejects the reinstatement of the elected head of state.
The U.S. government said last week that if the de facto regime in Tegucigalpa remains intransigent on the question of Zelaya’s reinstatement, Washington would not recognize the winner of the Nov. 29 presidential election in the Central American country.
“There’s a sense that the de facto regime was thinking if we can just get to an election that this will absolve them of all their sins,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley told reporters last Thursday. “That is not the case.” EFE