Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Neighbors trade embargo on Honduras ends

The 48-hour trade embargo imposed by Honduras' three neighbors in response to a military coup came to an end on Thursday, with a cost to the nation worth 16 million U.S. dollars.

El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua had all halted trade with Honduras after Sunday's military coup against President Manuel Zelaya.

The four Central American nations usually work closely together, and are known as the CA-4.

Amilcar Bulnes, president of the Honduran National Business Council, (Cohep), told media Thursday that a Cohep committee had traveled to El Salvador on Wednesday, to "explain to them what is really going on in the country" and seek to preserve regional economic integration.

The Cohep has supported Roberto Micheletti, the acting president installed by the Congress after the coup.

Honduran soldiers stormed the presidential palace early Sunday morning and forced Zelaya to exile.

The United Nations, Organization of American States and many foreign government leaders condemned the military uprising and refused to recognize Micheletti's government.

"The closure ended at zero on Thursday, and even though there was willingness to extend the measure, there were no instructions to that effect," said David Cristiani, Guatemala's deputy economic minister.

The business and financial community in Guatemala opposed the closure of the nation's borders, and the Central America, Dominican Republic and Panama Private Enterprise Federation also issued a statement describing the move as a violation of CA-4 treaties.

Honduras is Guatemala's third largest export market, with an export value of 737 million U.S. dollars in 2008, or around 2 million dollars a day, Cristiani said, adding Guatemala also lost income from customs during the two days.

Source: Xinhua

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