Honduras - Foreign Relations
Honduras is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC), and the Central American Security Commission (CASC). Honduras is also a signatory to the Rio Pact, and a member of the Central American Defense Council (CONDECA). During 1995-96, Honduras--a founding member of the United Nations--served as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council for the first time. Honduras is a party to all UN and OAS counterterrorism conventions and protocols.
Honduras is a strong proponent of Central American cooperation and integration, and before the June 2009 coup was working toward the implementation of a regional customs union and Central American passport, which would ease border controls and tariffs among Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Honduras also has unresolved maritime border disputes with El Salvador, Jamaica, and Cuba.
During official celebrations of the Inauguration of former-President Maduro on 26/27 January 2002, the outgoing Government of Honduras announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, broken in April 1961. The move was not totally unexpected given the strong Cuban assistance to Honduras over the three and a half years since Hurricane Mitch, the ongoing support of the Cuban medical team working in remote areas of Honduras and the conclusion of the Honduran/Cuban maritime boundary agreement. As a new member to the Commission, Honduras tabled the annual Resolution on human rights in Cuba that was passed at the UN Commission on Human Rights in April 2004. Despite Cuban denunciation and claims of US pressure on Honduras, formal bilateral relations between Honduras and Cuba have survived. In November 1999, a maritime dispute with Nicaragua flared up. The basis for the dispute was the ratification by Honduras of the 1986 Ramirez-Lopez Treaty whereby Colombia’s right to the San Andreas and Providencia islands in the Caribbean was recognised. Nicaragua, which has laid claim to 30,000 sq km of territorial sea, was outraged by the Honduran action. Both countries agreed to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In the meantime, the Organisation of American States (OAS) has supported confidence-building measures including visits by an International Verification Mission to the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. In December 2001, Foreign Ministers from both countries signed an agreement at the headquarters of the OAS establishing the framework for a Bi-national Border Development Plan. As part of the increasing process of economic integration in the Central American region, Honduras signed an agreement with Nicaragua on 15 February 2005 to simplify customs procedures on the border between the two countries. In 1969, El Salvador and Honduras fought the brief "Soccer War" over disputed border areas. The two countries formally signed a peace treaty in 1980, which put the border dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In 1992, the ICJ awarded most of the disputed territory to Honduras, and in January 1998, Honduras and El Salvador signed a border demarcation treaty to implement the terms of the ICJ decree, although delays continue due to technical difficulties. However, Honduras and El Salvador maintain normal diplomatic and trade relations. Alleged El Salvadorian refusal to give effect to the ICJ’s judgement on the delimitation of the boundaries between the two countries, is an ongoing irritant and has led to Honduras raising the issue with the UN Security Council. The ICJ declined El Salvador’s application for a revision of its 1992 ruling in December 2003.
Honduras enjoys good relations with both Guatemala and Belize, all three being members of the Central American Integration System (SICA). Honduras and Belize are presently pursuing joint-initiatives in disaster and emergency management as well as on environmental issues. Honduras follows the Guatemala/Belize dispute carefully given its own unresolved dispute with El Salvador and because Honduras, Belize and Guatemala are Caribbean neighbours in the Gulf of Honduras. In early 2006, Honduras participated in the OAS-facilitated meetings aimed at promoting a long-term settlement to the Belize/Guatemala border dispute. Honduras hosted a meeting between the two sides on 23 March 2006. Honduras has a particular interest in maritime aspects of the territorial dispute. There are a large number of migrant seasonal workers from Honduras in the Belizean citrus and banana industry. Many Hondurans also work in Guatemala; the latter having growing business ties and investments in Honduras.
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