Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, elected after a 2009 coup, will not attend an EU-Latin American summit in Spain this month after South American leaders who do not recognize him as his country's legitimate leader threatened to pull out.
Countries from the Unasur political grouping of South American nations, including heavyweight Brazil, have shunned contact with Lobo because the November vote that elected him was organized by the de facto government that took power after a coup toppled left-wing President Manuel Zelaya.
Lobo, who has been recognized by the United States, the European Union and most of Central America, will fly to Madrid where the May 18-19 summit is being held and will attend various meetings, but will stay away from the main EU event.
"What we are going to do is to stay on the sidelines and that way the initiative taken by the southern group will not hurt activities promoted by the Spanish government," Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati told local radio.
Lobo will meet Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos and join talks between Rodriguez Zapatero and Central American leaders who do recognize Lobo.
Washington helped broker the election that brought Lobo to power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged reluctant South American countries to normalize ties.
Zelaya was swept out of Honduras by soldiers in June after angering political opponents who accused him of trying to change the constitution in a push to run again for president.
Brazil, which sheltered Zelaya in its embassy in Tegucigalpa for months after he secretly returned to Honduras, has not ruled out relations with the new government, but wants a common position with the region.
Zelaya flew into exile in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 27 when Lobo was sworn into office.
ReutersLast Mod: 06 Mayıs 2010, 23:24