WORLD> America
OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup
Updated: 2009-07-05 15:36

WASHINGTON: The Organization of American States (OAS) late Saturday suspended Honduras' membership after the Central American country ignored an OAS ultimatum to reinstate coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

A special session of the OAS general assembly held here passed a resolution to immediately suspend the post-coup government in Honduras.

Related readings:
OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup OAS chief: Honduras' membership to be suspended
OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup Ousted president says to return to Honduras Sunday
OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup Zelaya says he's optimist, will return to Honduras
OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup Interim Honduras leader hints open to early vote

OAS expels Honduras' membership over coup OAS gives Honduras ultimatum

Zelaya, who gained support from all the 33 other members of the OAS, was present at the three-hour meeting.

He said after the meeting that he planned to return to Honduras on Sunday.

The assembly acted on the basis of the Article 21 of the OAS Charter that gives it the right to suspend membership of a country in case of an "unconstitutional interruption of democratic order" and when "efforts to address the situation through diplomatic means have failed."

The article was used by the organization for the first time since 1962.

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza went to Honduran capital Tegucigalpa Friday but failed to persuade the post-coup government to restore Zelaya.

Insulza said before he left Honduras for Washington that he would recommend the suspension of Honduras from the regional group.

The Honduran interim government then announced that the country decided to quit from the OAS.

A letter to the OAS read by Honduras' Vice Minister of International Relations Martha Lorena de Casco said "This government believes that inside the organization (of the OAS), there is no room for Honduras, for the states that love its freedom and defend its sovereignty."

The OAS Wednesday gave the Honduran interim government until noon on Saturday to restore Zelaya to power, or face expulsion.

But the post-coup government leaders in Honduras rejected the demand and said they would not negotiate Honduras' sovereignty.

Honduran soldiers stormed the presidential palace and flew Zelaya into exile in Costa Rica early moring on June 28, the day scheduled for a controversial referendum pushed by Zelaya in a bid to change the constitution to allow a president to run for a second term.

Later the same day, the country's legislature voted to appoint Roberto Micheletti, head of the legislature, as acting president to serve out Zelaya's term, which ends in January.

The post-coup government vowed to arrest Zelaya if he returns. The country's Catholic church cardinal Oscar Rodriguez also warned Zelaya not tocome back to avoid bloody conflict.