Tue, June 30, 2009
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UN General Assembly slams military coup in Honduras

2009-06-30 09:09:24 GMT2009-06-30 17:09:24 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The UN General Assembly hold an urgent meeting at the UN headquarters in New York June 29, 2009, discussing the situation in Honduras, where President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

Honduran Interior Minister Jorge Arturo Reina, who is also the permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during the urgent meeting held by the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York June 29, 2009. The UN General Assembly held the urgent meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Honduras, where President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly, speaks during the urgent meeting held by the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York June 29, 2009. The UN General Assembly held the urgent meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Honduras, where President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (Xinhua) -- In an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, diplomats and regional groups came together to condemn the military coup in Honduras and called for the restoration of constitutional order.

UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto addressed the meeting's opening by strongly condemning the "outrageous" army coup which deposed of Honduras President Manuel Zelaya in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"It is with a heavy heart and deep personal outrage that I open this plenary session to consider the coup d'tat that interrupted the democratic and constitutional rule of President Manuel Zelaya in the Republic of Honduras," he said.

D'Escoto noted that he had invited President Zelaya to address the assembly "as soon as possible and give us an updated report on events in his country."

As the first delegation to speak, Honduran UN Ambassador Jorge Arturo Reina called the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya "a tragic moment," adding that he was certain the military's actions would amount to "a transitional movement, a transitory one."

He emphasized that President Zelaya sought to strengthen democracy and urged the General Assembly to unanimously condemn the coup d'tat.

"It is a pity that coup d'tats have come again on the scene," he said. "It was story that we hoped had come to an end but, once again, forces that are opposed to the will of the people and democracy gain a new lease on life."

The Honduras congress voted to replace President Zelaya with Parliamentary Speaker Roberto Micheletti to serve out the rest of the term, which ends in January. Members of congress unanimously removed the president after stating they had received a letter of resignation -- a claim rejected by President Zelaya.

Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group -- an organization of all Latin American and the Caribbean countries -- Mexican UN Ambassador Claude Heller condemned the coup d'tat committed against the president and called for the restoration of democratic values.

"The Rio Group rejects the use of armed force and the arbitrary detention of the head of the executive power who was forced to leave the country," he said. "The breech of constitutional order is unacceptable and inadmissible."

Speaking on behalf of the 27-nation European Union, the Czech Republic's UN Ambassador Martin Palous urged for the immediate release of all detained government representatives and underlined the importance of transparent and fair elections to be held on Nov.29.

Several government officials are reported to have been detained, including Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, who was later flown to Mexico on Monday, where she was welcomed by the government of Felipe Calderon.

Chilean UN Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations, offered the fullest support to President Zelaya and said the union would only recognize a democratically elected government.

"This was a simple coup d'etat with no need of any ornament of explanation," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the 118 members of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), Cuban UN Ambassador Abelardo Moreno strongly condemned the kidnapping of President Zelaya, adding that NAM "categorically rejects the breech of the democratic constitutional order that has taken place in Honduras as well as all violent actions against the people and the legitimate government."

Taking the podium, Nicaraguan UN Ambassador Rubiales de Chamorro, whose country received President Zelaya on Monday, emphasized that the Americas are united in their rejection of the coup d'tat.

Calling the military's actions "cowardly," Rubiales de Chamorro said no marshal law will be able to "quell the clamor of the Honduran people for liberty."

She also condemned the kidnapping of the foreign ambassadors to Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, calling it a "flagrant act of aggression" against those countries.

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