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Honduras delays accrediting U.S. ambassador

  • Story Highlights
  • Honduras acting in support of Bolivia
  • Bolivia accuses United States of supporting rebellion
  • Caracas also has expelled U.S. ambassador to Venezuela
  • U.S., in turn, has expelled Bolivian and Venezuelan ambassadors
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(CNN) -- The president of Honduras said Friday he is suspending the accreditation of the U.S. ambassador to his country in solidarity with Bolivia, whose president accused Washington of siding with anti-government protesters.

"We have postponed on many occasions," President Manuel Zelaya told reporters. "This was a special situation in which our government wants to show its solidarity, to respect the principles of international law."

Zelaya had planned to receive Hugo Llorens on Friday but told reporters, "A new date will be set to receive him."

Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador to La Paz on Wednesday. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in a move intended to show solidarity, expelled the U.S. ambassador to Caracas on Thursday and withdrew his own envoy from Washington.

Washington, in return, has expelled Bolivia's and Venezuela's ambassadors to the United States.

At least eight people have died in Bolivia in fighting between pro-government forces and the pro-autonomy demonstrators in the nation's more prosperous eastern departments.

"Hugo Llorens is President Bush's confirmed choice to be U.S. ambassador to Honduras," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "We are confident he will soon be able to begin his work as ambassador."

The assertion that the U.S. government is backing Morales' critics was dismissed Thursday as "baseless" by a U.S. State Department spokesman.

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