OAS Honduras' interim government can't withdraw

WASHINGTON Sat Jul 4, 2009 1:24pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The caretaker government of Honduras cannot withdraw from the Organization of American States because it is not a legitimate government, a senior OAS official said on Saturday.

"Only legitimate governments can withdraw from an entity such as the OAS," said Albert Ramdin, the OAS assistant secretary-general, told reporters before a special OAS meeting on Honduras.

He said the current "regime" in Honduras is not recognized as the country's legitimate government.

The interim rulers of Honduras took power after a coup removed President Manuel Zelaya. They have rejected an OAS demand to restore Zelaya and defiantly renounced the OAS charter in an apparent preemptive move.

(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Bill Trott)