Western envoys express concern over El Salvador crisis

SAN SALVADOR Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:17am EDT

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SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The U.S. and British ambassadors to El Salvador raised concern on Tuesday about a deepening political crisis in the Central American country that has pitted the Supreme Court against Congress.

The crisis centers on a decision last month by El Salvador's top court to annul the election by Congress of 20 new judges.

The court's decision prompted the ruling leftist party of President Mauricio Funes, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which controls Congress, to refuse to accept the ruling.

That has led to media speculation that El Salvador may be vulnerable to a possible coup.

"At this time the United States is worried about the ... constitutional crisis in El Salvador," U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte told a news conference. She urged a quick resolution to the confrontation.

The British ambassador also called for a swift end to the stalemate.

"The best outcome for El Salvador would be to arrive at agreement ... as quickly as possible to avoid a larger impact," British Ambassador Linda Cross said in an interview with local newspaper La Prensa Grafica.

Business interests long hostile to the ruling party are also voicing concern.

"It's very dangerous," said Jorge Daboub, president of a national business association. He compared the ruling party's dispute with the judiciary to attempts to consolidate political power by other leftist parties in countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela.

(Reporting By Nelson Renteria.; Writing by David Alire Garcia; editing by Christopher Wilson)

(This story has been refiled to correct a typo in the fifth paragraph)

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