(Reuters) -The Honduran army ousted and exiled leftist President Manuel Zelaya on Sunday, a move triggered by his bid to make it legal to seek another term in office.
Following is international reaction to the first successful military coup against a president in Central America since the Cold War.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “...I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
“Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.”
VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: “I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert.”
Chavez said if a new Honduran government is sworn in after the coup, “We will bring them down, we will bring them down, I tell you.”
He also said if Venezuela’s envoy to Honduras was harmed or troops entered the Venezuelan embassy, “that military junta would be entering a de facto state of war, we would have to act militarily.”
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES: OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza “strongly condemned” the coup and “demanded that the rebels reveal the whereabouts of President Zelaya.” In a statement, he called on “the Honduran people, the nations in the Americas and the international community to join forces against this grave disturbance of the democratic process currently being enjoyed throughout the Continent.”
FRANCE: The French Foreign Ministry said, “France firmly condemns the coup that has just taken place in Honduras. The arrests and expulsions of diplomatic envoys are a grave breach of the Vienna convention. They are unacceptable.
“The constitutional order must be restored at the earliest opportunity. France calls on all parties to act with respect for the principles and values of democracy.”
ECUADOR: Ecuador’s foreign ministry said it “will not recognize any government that is not that of President Manuel Zelaya.”
ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENT CRISTINA FERNANDEZ: “I’m deeply worried about the situation in Honduras... it reminds of us the worst years in Latin America’s history.”
“We will ... demand that the OAS fully comply with the democratic charter that requires unconditional respect for democracy, and above all the restoration of the Honduran president.”
“I do not hesitate to call this a return to barbarity. All countries of the continent and the entire international community should demand the return of the democratically elected president.”
CHILE: Chile “demands democracy be re-established in Honduras and the immediate return of President Jose Manuel Zelaya, legitimately elected by the Honduran people,” Chile’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, in her capacity as acting head of the Unasur group of South American nations, said Unasur “condemns the kidnapping of Presidente Zelaya and his ministers and the occupation of government buildings by groups that seek to destabilize democracy and expresses its decision not to recognize any government other than the one that is legal and legitimately elected.”
SPAIN: The office of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in a statement, “The Prime Minister condemns the detention and illegal expulsion of the President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya and calls for his immediate reinstatement to the democratically elected position ... a solution must be found through dialogue and respect for the democratic process.”
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: “The action taken against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all.
“We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue.”
Compiled by World Desk Washington, 202-898-8457