EU regrets Honduras coup, calls to respect democracy
The European Commission urged Honduras to resolve differences peacefully and "promptly engage in dialogue."Brussels -- The European Commission on Monday urged that "the democratically elected institutions" be respected in coup-hit Honduras, and called an urgent meeting with Central American ambassadors to consider the future of trade talks.
"I regret the recent events which have taken place in Honduras," EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said after the Honduran army ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile.
"We urge all parties involved to resolve their differences peacefully, in full respect of the country's legal framework, and to promptly engage in a dialogue," Ferrero-Waldner said.
The EU commissioner offered "support" in such a dialogue and stressed Europe's "long history of close relations with Honduras and the Central American region as a whole."
However, her spokeswoman said the EU commission had meetings Monday with Central American ambassadors to consider the impact of the events in Honduras on efforts to secure an Association Agreement, including a free-trade deal between the regions.
Honduras is part of those EU negotiations along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Ferrero-Waldner will meet the Honduran ambassador separately in Brussels on Tuesday, her spokeswoman said.
"The commission attaches great importance to the finalisation of the negotiations with the Central American region and we still hope that we can do this by the end of the year," as scheduled, spokeswoman Christiane Hohmann said.
"This is a crucial question: whether the Central Americans feel they want to continue or not," she added after Monday's talks were completed.
"It's a regional agreement," she stressed. Therefore if Honduras walks out the whole process is stymied.
Talks on the subject between the EU executive and the Central American nations concerned had already been set for next month.
In Honduras Roberto Micheletti imposed a nationwide 48-hour curfew after the national congress voted him in as the country's new leader just hours after Zelaya fled to Costa Rica and later Nicaragua.