US stops issuing visas in Honduras

Move puts pressure on interim leaders to accept reinstatement of ousted president.

    Micheletti, the Honduran interim leader, has refused to accept the return of Zelaya to the presidency [AFP]

    Kelly was referring to a peace proposal advanced by Oscar Arias, the Costa Rican president, under which Zelaya would be reinstated as the Honduran president until elections are held in November.

    In return, Zelaya would have to abandon plans to hold a referendum on changes to the constitution, the issue which was opposed by the Honduran supreme court, congress and army and which ultimately led to him being forced from the presidential palace on June 28.

    Sanctions urged

    Foreign ministers from members of the Organisation of American States (OAS) are in Tegucigalpa to try to convince Roberto Micheletti, who leads the military-backed interim government, to accept the terms of the San Jose Accord.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New-York based organisation, said on Tuesday that the US government must impose fresh sanctions against the Honduran interim government if its does not accept the terms of the accord on offer.

    "If the OAS delegation is unable this week to persuade Honduras' de facto government to allow Zelaya's return to the presidency, the only option left will be for the international community to ratchet up the pressure," Jose Miguel Vivanco, the HRW director for the Americas, said.

    "The US government, in particular, could play a key role through the use of carefully targeted sanctions," he said.

    Washington has so far put about $18m in mostly military and development aid to the interim government on hold since Zelaya was overthrown.

    But the Obama administration has argued that placing further sanctions on the country runs the risk of adversely affecting the economy, to the detriment of the population.

    To avoid harming the general population of Honduras, the US could cancel the travel visas of members of the interim government and block them from using US banks, Vivanco suggested.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.