U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the Obama administration will resume aid to Honduras that was suspended after a coup last year and urged Latin American nations to recognize the new Honduran government.
Clinton said the Honduran government that took office in January was democratically elected, was reconciling the population split by last June's coup and deserved normal relations with countries that cut ties after the ouster of the former president.
"We think that Honduras has taken important and necessary steps that deserve the recognition and the normalization of relations," she told a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting of regional officials in Costa Rica.
Clinton praised steps taken by new Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, whose election in November began the resolution of the political crisis caused by the ouster of his predecessor, Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya, a leftist populist, was toppled while pushing a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to run for re-election.
Clinton said she had notified Congress that more than $31 million in U.S. assistance suspended after the coup would be restored. She also said it was time for Honduras to be readmitted to the Organization of American States.
Clinton will attend a meeting of Central American leaders, including Lobo, in Guatemala on Friday at which Honduras will the main topic. Clinton has been making the case for Honduras at each stop on her current six-nation tour of Latin America.
Some countries she has visited — notably Argentina and Brazil — are balking at restoring ties with Honduras. They wanted Zelaya restored to power and believe recognition would reward the coup leaders who ran an interim government until January.
Clinton said she disagreed with such delays.
"I don't know what they are waiting for, but that is their right to wait," she said. "We believe that President Lobo and his administration have taken the steps necessary to restore democracy."
"We share the condemnation of the coup that occurred, but we think it is time to move forward and ensure that such disruptions of democracy do not and cannot happen in the future."