Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday said he is confident a pact made between Honduras President Porfirio Lobo and his predecessor Manuel Zelaya in Cartagena will result in the Organization of American States (OAS) allowing the return of the Central American nation.
Santos said at a press conference he hopes that the OAS will allow Honduras back into the organization next week without any votes against.
While visiting Colombia’s colonial coastal city, ousted Zelaya signed an accord with his successor Sunday that will permit Zelaya’s return to his homeland. The agreement had been worked out by Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, who had sent his foreign minister to Cartagena for the event.
The agreement “strengthens the American system … and there is peace and freedom in a brotherly country like Honduras,” Santos said.
Earlier, the Colombian leader said by Twitter that the agreement “implies the return of Zelaya to Honduras and its return to the OAS.”
Chavez promised to make sure the accord’s terms are respected.
“We will be monitoring very closely that the agreement is fulfilled because we know there will be forces inside and outside Honduras who are going to try to boycott the accord,” Chavez said from Caracas, Venezuela.
After Zelaya was overthrown by the military and hustled out of Honduras almost two years ago, international sanctions and months of negotiations led by the U.S. and the OAS failed to persuade an interim government to restore him to power.
Honduras went ahead with November 2009 elections that had been scheduled before the coup and Lobo was voted to office. The U.S. and other countries restored ties shortly after Lobo took power in January 2010.
But Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Ecuador opposed restoring Honduras to the OAS unless Zelaya could return from exile without facing the threat of prison.
Honduras’ courts recently dropped corruption charges and arrest warrants pending against Zelaya, paving the way for the country’s restoration as an OAS member.
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza issued a statement saying the accord “opens the way to return Honduras to the hemispheric organization.” He said it would be presented to the OAS’s permanent council Monday.