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OAS readmits Honduras to its ranks

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: U.S. official says "system largely worked"
  • Honduras had been suspended since a 2009 coup
  • Ecuador is the only dissenting vote to readmission

(CNN) -- The Organization of American States voted Wednesday to readmit Honduras into the regional body.

Ecuador was the only country to vote against the measure, which was approved 31-1.

Honduras was suspended from the OAS after the 2009 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Back then, the bloc found that Zelaya's ouster and the de facto government that followed violated the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a document designed to uphold democratic institutions in the hemisphere.

Venezuela voted for reinstatement, but with reservations because of what it called the impunity of the coup plotters.

Honduras' return to the fold was expected after Zelaya was able to return last week to his homeland without fear of prosecution.

Zelaya this month inked an accord with the country's current president that allowed him to return. Most recently, he had been in exile in the Dominican Republic.

The deal, which was brokered by the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, was signed in Cartagena, Colombia, by Zelaya and Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the development.

"This moment has been a long time coming. It is an important milestone for Honduras, for the OAS, and for the Americas," Clinton said in a statement. "The crisis and coup in Honduras was a test for the OAS and its ability to act swiftly and decisively to safeguard our shared democratic values."