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09TEGUCIGALPA1265 2009-12-08 17:25:00 SECRET Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

TFH01: THE AMBASSADOR AND PRESIDENT ARIAS DISCUSS

Tags:   PGOV KDEM PREL HO 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 001265 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2019
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL HO
SUBJECT: TFH01: THE AMBASSADOR AND PRESIDENT ARIAS DISCUSS
HONDURAN SITUATION

REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 1244

B. TEGUCIGALPA 1231

C. TEGUCIGALPA 1253

D. TEGUCIGALPA 1264

TEGUCIGALP 00001265 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, reasons 1.4 (b & d)



1. (S) Summary: The Ambassador and Arias discussed the
Honduran situation on December 7. Arias remains committed to
a negotiated solution to the Honduran crisis and expressed
his willingness to stay engaged and provide leadership. He
added that the holding of free and fair elections provides a
peaceful path to restore democracy in the nation. He
confirmed his invitation to Honduran President-elect Pepe
Lobo to visit San Jose on December 8. He believes that
Honduras should not be isolated diplomatically, and warns
that its destabilization would have negative consequences for
all of Central America. Issues on the table in San Jose
include the resignation of regime leader Micheletti, the
creation of a government of national unity and the need to
provide political amnesty for President Zelaya, regime leader
Micheletti, and the Honduran military. End Summary.




2. (S) The Ambassador spoke to Costa Rican President Arias
on the afternoon of December 7 to discuss the situation and
review our common diplomatic initiatives in the wake of the
November 29 general elections in Honduras and December
congressional vote rejecting the restoration of President
Zelaya. Arias made clear his total commitment to the
restoration of the constitutional and democratic order in
Honduras. He noted that his mediation efforts had been
singularly devoted to that task -- an objective he had worked
closely with the U.S. to achieve. Arias stated that he had
also supported the Guaymuras Dialogue, which eventually
resulted in the signing of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord
(TSJA), a negotiated framework mostly established in the
mediation and negotiations held under his auspices last July
and August. Arias criticized regime leader Roberto
Micheletti for not acting in good faith in terms of his
attempt to control the creation of the government of national
unity, which ultimately resulted in President Zelaya's
decision to withdraw from the TSJA. The Ambassador pointed
out that both the unsigned San Jose Accord and the concluded
TSJA provided very concrete terms for resolving the Honduran
crisis. Arias agreed that both agreements represented a
diplomatic process conducted over many months and involving
Hondurans in direct negotiations.



3. (S) Arias expressed the view that the Honduran elections
were absolutely vital to the solution of the Honduran crisis.
The Ambassador and Arias agreed that the Honduran elections
had been well run by the autonomous Supreme Elections
Tribunal resulting in a free, fair and transparent process.
Both also agreed that voter turn out had been strong. The
Ambassador pointed out that Pepe Lobo had gained an estimate
25 percent more votes than President Zelaya in his winning
campaign of 2005. Arias said he had argued strongly at the
Ibero-American Summit the previous week in defense of the
right of the Honduran people to elect their leaders and had
urged other countries to recognize the results. He said he
had made the case in the open discussions between the heads
of states, as well as in private meetings with Spanish
President Zapatero and others, that it was a travesty that
these countries should recognize flawed election processes in
Iran and Afghanistan and not be willing to recognize a far
more credible election held in Honduras. Arias said that
beyond the ALBA countries, he noted that Brazil and Argentina
had taken a very tough line against Honduras. He added that
President Zapatero appeared unduly influenced by President
Lula.



4. (S) Arias stressed that it was imperative for Central
American leaders to continue to contribute to a solution to
the Honduran crisis, since developments in Honduras would
have its most direct and significant political and economic
impact on its closest neighbors. Arias made clear that he

TEGUCIGALP 00001265 002.2 OF 002


planned to stay engaged and provide leadership in this task.
Arias confirmed his invitation for President-elect Pepe Lobo
to visit San Jose on December 8. He said he conceived the
visit of President-elect Lobo as an opportunity to begin to
lift the veil of isolation affecting Honduras and give him
needed diplomatic space to begin to normalize ties with
Central America.



5. (S) On the substance of the visit, Arias noted that he
would encourage Lobo to support some political arrangement
consistent with the San Jose and TSJA. The Ambassador and
Arias agreed that Arias should urge Lobo to press Micheletti
to resign and pave the way for the creation of a government
of national unity to serve in a transition role until Lobo's
inauguration on January 27, 2010. The Ambassador and Arias
discussed possible names to fill some of the key ministerial
portfolios in a government of national unity. Arias
suggested that Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos could
possibly play an important role. He said that Santos had
been able to garner 38 percent of the vote in the elections,
and had a certain level of credibility and legitimacy. Arias
also stressed the importance of going back to the original
San Jose Accord's offer of political amnesty to all of the
key players in the coup drama, including Zelaya and his
closest advisors, Micheletti and regime insiders, and the
Honduran military as an institution. Arias stressed that
amnesty, as had been the case in the 1980s in Central
America, would help facilitate the achievement of national
reconciliation.



6. (S) The Ambassador informed Arias that Lobo had told him
that following his visit to San Jose, he planned to meet with
Martinelli here in Tegucigalpa on Wednesday, December 9, and
that he would travel to the Dominican Republic to meet with
President Fernandez. Arias expressed concern about
Martinelli going to Tegucigalpa since it might send mixed
signals, particularly if it is seen as supportive of the
Micheletti regime. Arias suggested that it was preferable
for Lobo to travel to Panama or that Martinelli travel to San
Jose and that both meet together with Lobo.
LLORENS