Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More from Ian Kelley's Daily Press Briefing

Here is the transcript from the daily press briefing. View the video here:
Last week, Honduran negotiators came to an accord that spells out a step-by-step process for Honduras to reestablish democratic and constitutional order and move toward national elections with the support of the international community. In the wake of the Verification Commission visit November 3 and 4, the two sides made significant progress toward the formation of a unity government. For that reason, we were particularly disappointed by the unilateral statements made last night, which do not serve the spirit of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord.

We urge both sides to act in the best interests of the Honduran people and return to the table immediately to reach agreement on the formation of a unity government. The formation of a government of unity and national reconciliation will serve the Honduran people and will change the political dynamics in the country in a positive way. It is urgent that this government be created immediately.

The Honduran people have made clear that they want to move forward. They deserve leadership that looks to the future in the interests of all Honduran people. Complete and timely implementation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord is the path to that future, and the formation of a government of unity and national reconciliation is the next vital step forward.

In the Q/A that followed, in response to a question about Jim DeMint's statement that he had been assured the US would recognize the outcome of the Honduran election no matter what happened in the restoration of President Zelaya, Ian Kelly responded

Well, I think we have agreed to support the electoral process. We are providing technical assistance to the elections process in Honduras. And we – we’ve made this commitment to support this process because of the accord between the two parties. And as the parties respect and implement this agreement step by step, we will continue to support the process. So that’s our policy right now.

The reporter was insistent that he respond to DeMint's claims of a State Department assurance on this. Kelley, interrupted by the reporter who asked for a yes or no on this point, responded:
I think what we have said, what the Secretary has said, and what I’ll say --
-- is that we support this accord which calls, first of all, for a Verification Commission, then for – and that’s been done. The next step is the formation of a government of unity and reconciliation, then a Congress vote on the restoration, and then the elections. So far, only one step has been carried out.
So: this would at least imply that the US State Department does not accept what Micheletti did last night as a valid fulfillment of the requirement to form a unity government.

The reporter never did get a response on his question about whether Jim DeMint got a side assurance or not. Kelley's responses to reiterated question are the epitome of the problem with this State Department, which is allowing random members of Congress to enact their own foreign policy-- and not just on Honduras:
Again, our support for these elections is the product of this agreement.

I'm sorry, Matt. I don’t have the statement right here, so I can’t – I mean, I know you’re reading me the statement. Let me take the question, we’ll look at the statement, and we’ll give you a response.

I would not – I know that the Secretary spoke to Senator DeMint. I know Tom Shannon has spoken to Senator DeMint. I was not in those meetings. I was not – and I didn’t – wasn’t on the phone call. Let me get back and find out exactly what we can say about this.
Ahah. Ian Kelly wasn't on the phone call. But Jim DeMint was, and I think that settles that: he got the assurance he claims he got.

But, if the support for the elections is a product of the agreement-- and by the earlier statement, the agreement is not being complied with-- surely THAT is a reason to not recognize the elections?

Then comes the statement about being disappointed with "both sides", in response to a reporter's question:

QUESTION: What – going back to your statement, when you say that the U.S. Government is disappointed, disappointed of what? Disappointed – disappointment of Zelaya position? Yesterday, he said that he doesn’t follow any more of this agreement? Or disappointment with the government of Micheletti that they didn’t work with the congress to reinstate Zelaya? Or how – can you clarify that?

MR. KELLY: I think we’re disappointed with both sides. I think we’re disappointed that both sides are not following this very clear path which has been laid out in this accord. It has not formed a government of national unity for – I think what happened last night is that there was not an agreement on a government of national unity in reconciliation. It was a unilaterally decided government. And a unilaterally decided government is not a government of unity. So I think it’s fair to say we’re disappointed at both sides.

AARGH! This makes no sense!!! If the issue is the unilateral action of appointing a (dis)unity government, why be "disappointed" with both sides?

Then Kelly is asked about what incentive the de facto regime would have given that Shannon now has said the elections will be recognized? Kelly tries valiantly to say that what Shannon meant to say was that assuming the accord is implemented, that recognition of the elections would be feasible.

And then, all heck breaks loose. Read this one out loud for best effect; raw and uncut...

QUESTION: Well, I just want to follow up on what you said that Tom Shannon said, that as the agreement is implemented, this will help you move forward to the elections. But I’m not really clear if you think that the agreement has been implemented.

MR. KELLY: No, it hasn’t been implemented.


MR. KELLY: The first step has, the Verification Commission.

QUESTION: But I mean, to go ahead and declare, you know, yourself the head of the national unity government would not necessarily be implementing the agreement.

MR. KELLY: Well, it was done unilaterally, this – the --


MR. KELLY: The announcement was done unilaterally. And, I mean, we still think that this accord is a – the best way forward to resolve this crisis and is in the best interests of the Honduran people. We should always think --


MR. KELLY: -- about supporting the Honduran people and move beyond the maximalist positions and the overheated rhetoric that we’re seeing.

QUESTION: But just to be clear, that the implementation of the agreement as it stands now, which you said is not necessarily implemented, you would not recognize the elections?

MR. KELLY: Well, no. I just think that it’s – I mean, our – we believe that we can support these elections as we go forward implementing this agreement. And we continue to support them. We financially are supporting the elections through technical assistance.

QUESTION: But I’m not clear about –

MR. KELLY: We’re going to support observation efforts.

QUESTION: Yeah, but the actions today as they stand, I mean, it doesn’t bring you any closer to being able to recognize the elections?

MR. KELLY: Well, we –

QUESTION: It sounds like you’re going to recognize them no matter what.

MR. KELLY: Well, we believe that this agreement can be implemented.

QUESTION: I know you do.

MR. KELLY: And – yeah. I mean, we --

QUESTION: But it’s not being --

MR. KELLY: It’s not that hard. And so we’re not going to – I mean, I’m not going to pronounce that the agreement isn’t going to be implemented; therefore we’re not going to recognize the elections. Let’s focus on implementing the agreement.

QUESTION: So the question would be would you recognize the elections depending on the compliance with the agreement, or will you recognize the elections with --

MR. KELLY: Well, let’s see what happens. I’m not going to prejudge what we’re going to do.

QUESTION: The problem with that is that it leads to really complete confusion. No one knows what the – what your policy is.

MR. KELLY: Our policy is to support the implementation of the agreement.

QUESTION: Yeah, but if you haven’t told – have you told –

MR. KELLY: But you’re asking me what we may or may not do on November 29.

QUESTION: Well, have you told the Honduras they if they don’t --

MR. KELLY: There’s a lot of time between now and then.

QUESTION: -- implement this agreement, you’re not going to recognize the validity of the election? And you’re hemming and hawing around it. You can’t answer the question about DeMint and the assurances, and you can’t – and no one has been able --

MR. KELLY: Look –

QUESTION: -- from Tom Shannon on down, no one has – will answer this question, even though I’m sure there is a clear-cut answer.

MR. KELLY: The bottom line is that we have a Honduran process in place where the two sides have sat down; they’ve signed on to the agreement; the agreement is specific in terms of the next steps to be taken. If the two sides can agree on a way forward – and the best way forward is this agreement; I mean, it’s very specific – then we support it. But I – what happens between now and November 29, I don’t know, but we’re supporting this Honduran process.

QUESTION: Even though it is not being implemented, you’re continuing to support it, even though you’re disappointed in what this --

MR. KELLY: We’re disappointed that this –

QUESTION: But you’re still going to support the process.

MR. KELLY: We’re supporting the process.

QUESTION: Well, then, I don’t understand. Then what you just said as the bottom line means nothing.

MR. KELLY: It means that they need to sit down and start talking again. They – it means --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. KELLY: -- they have to stop saying – maybe they need to stop making dire statements that the agreement is dead.

QUESTION: There must be someone in this building who can give a straight answer to this question.

MR. KELLY: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I don’t know who.

MR. KELLY: I’m giving you a straight answer.

QUESTION: Mr. Shannon did go on the record.

QUESTION: Ian, no, with all due respect –

MR. KELLY: You’re asking me to look ahead and predict --

QUESTION: No, we’re asking –

MR. KELLY: -- what we’re going to support or won’t support, and I don’t know what’s going to happen between now and November 29th.

QUESTION: So you’re saying that like –

QUESTION: But the answer – but the question: Is have you given the assurances to either DeMint or to whoever, or have you told the Hondurans?

MR. KELLY: I’ll get you that answer.

QUESTION: Yeah, right. That – and this is the question, though. Have you told them, or anyone else, that no matter whether Zelaya is reinstated or not, you’re going to support – you’ll recognize the election? I’m not asking you to predict what is going to happen, if he comes back or not. But there’s got to be a bottom line here, or else the whole policy just kind of falls apart and the people don’t – Micheletti’s people think that they have your support, then Zelaya (inaudible) --

MR. KELLY: Okay. Well, you’re – then you’re back to that question that I took and I said we’ll get you the information on.

So: Reporters can see that "there is no bottom line". Micheletti can see that there is no accountability. The US State Department apparently is the only party unable to see what is clear in front of everyone: this accord is not viable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RAJ says, AARGH! This makes no sense!!! If the issue is the unilateral action of appointing a (dis)unity government, why be "disappointed" with both sides?"

You remember the line from Through the Looking Glass about "jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today." This is a similar formulation. The position of the United States is that Zelaya and Micheletti must (a) agree on (b) the restoration of the constitional order. If Micheletti refuses to restore the constitutional order, then he has failed at point (b), but if Zelaya disagrees with Micheletti's refusal to restore the constitutional order, then he has failed at point (a), namely the requirement to agree, which must be the more serious affront because that clause comes first. At least it does so on Thursdays and weekends.

Why the reporters don't just laugh at Kelly is beyond me.