Spain confident EU-LatAm summit will not be marred by boycott

6th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain said Thursday it was confident most leaders invited to an EU-Latin America summit in Madrid will take part despite a boycott threat over the presence of the controversial new president of Honduras.

"I can guarantee that there will be a great level of participation," Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters.

"I am convinced that the summit will be a success because we have noticed a desire on the part of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean to have positive results," he added.

Moratinos, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union, did not say if the Honduran President Porfirio Lobo would take part in the May 17-18 summit.

Lobo said Wednesday that he would not attend if his presence would undermine the gathering.

"If there are problems, we will not go," he told a news conference.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said late Tuesday that most member states of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), including Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, would stay away from the summit if Lobo takes part.

Lobo is a controversial head of state for much of the region.

So far, only Colombia and Peru have followed the lead of the United States in recognizing his presidency. Most other South American countries consider his rule to be illegitimate.

They refuse to acknowledge his November election because it was organized by an interim government installed after the previous elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted in a June 2009 coup.

The European Union initially condemned the coup and refused to send election observers, but it ended up accepting Lobo as the country's president in February.

© 2010 AFP

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