Clinton to meet with ousted Honduran president

By Caitlin Taylor

Jul 7, 2009 10:51am

ABC News' Kirit Radia reports: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya in Washington today, the highest level meeting he has been granted since he being expelled from the country in a coup on June 28. Zelaya arrived in Washington last night after a failed attempt to enter Honduras on Sunday. A delegation of lawmakers from the de facto Honduran government also arrived in Washington yesterday to begin talks with the Organization of American States, its first overture to the regional body that comes after Honduras was suspended from the group over the weekend. The State Department said yesterday US officials will not meet with them. Washington has supported Zelaya's return to power as the democratically elected president of Honduras, despite disagreeing with him over his attempts to eliminate term limits that would allow him to run for re-election in November's elections. The US has refused to recognize the civilian government that has taken over since the military roused Zelaya out of bed and sent him to Costa Rica wearing nothing but his pajamas. Until now Clinton had delegated meetings with Zelaya to top US officials for the region, part of a nuanced US policy that publicly supported Zelaya but denied him any meetings with Clinton or President Obama. Clinton and Zelaya have not seen eye to eye in the past. They met last month when Clinton was in Honduras for OAS meetings. At those meetings Zelaya, allied with Venezuela's firebrand president Hugo Chavez and other leftist Latin American leaders, promoted Cuba's re-entry into the OAS which Washington opposed. In their meetings last month the two also discussed Zelaya's planned referendum on removing term limits, the measure that led to his ouster last week. At the time Clinton urged him not to proceed with those plans, but Zelaya was undeterred. –Kirit Radia

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