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Obama concerned over expulsion of Honduran leader

U.S. President Barack Obama looks down as he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to reporters following their Oval Office meeting at the White House in Washington June 26, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Sunday at the arrest and expulsion of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in a military coup d’etat.

“As the Organization of American States did on Friday, 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,” Obama said in a statement.

“Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference,” he said.

An administration official said Obama’s national security adviser, General Jim Jones, had briefed Obama on the situation in Honduras by telephone. An interagency team was following the situation and would provide updates to Obama throughout the day.

At a meeting of the OAS in Honduras this month, Zelaya condemned the United States’s refusal to support Cuba’s return to the 34-member group. The OAS suspended Cuba in 1962 after Fidel Castro’s revolution.