OAS lifts Honduras suspension after Zelaya agreement

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Honduras's representative Maria Antonieta Guillen at the OAS in Washington after the vote
Image caption,
Vice President Maria Antonieta Guillen represented Honduras at the OAS for her country's readmission

The Organisation of American States has voted to re-admit Honduras, which it suspended in 2009 when President Manuel Zelaya was forced from power.

He returned from exile to Honduras on Saturday, after Venezuela and Colombia helped broker an agreement with the current president, Porfirio Lobo.

Mr Zelaya was deposed by the Honduran military after ignoring a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum linked to presidential term limits.

The OAS called the move a coup.

At a special session at its Washington headquarters on Wednesday, the OAS voted overwhelmingly to lift the suspension.

Of the 33 countries, only Ecuador opposed the measure.

Its ambassador said conditions were not yet appropriate for Honduras to return, criticising the fact that those who deposed Mr Zelaya had not been punished.

Constitutional crisis

The 2009 crisis was triggered by Mr Zelaya's decision to hold a non-binding referendum to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution.

His critics said the move was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, and paving the way for his possible re-election - a charge he repeatedly denied.

The consultation was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court and Congress.

When Mr Zelaya insisted the consultation go ahead, Congress voted to remove him for what it called "repeated violations of the constitution and the law".

His removal from office left Honduras politically isolated for several months.

However, after Mr Lobo's election in November 2009, many governments, including the US, decided to restore ties.

Last month, a court in Honduras dropped all corruption charges against Mr Zelaya, clearing the way for him to return from exile.