Paraguayan President's Ouster is not Coup: US

Washington, Jun 26 (IANS): The US has not determined the ouster of Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo by impeachment as a coup in the South American nation but is closely following the events there, the US State Department has said.

Responding to a question about whether Washington has determined the impeachment constitutes a coup, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said: "We have not."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the ouster a "coup", as Lugo was forced out and his deputy Federico Franco was sworn in as new president following the Paraguayan Senate's vote Friday in favour of impeaching Lugo on charges of "poorly discharging his duties", Xinhua reported.

Nuland also said that Washington has not made a decision about whether to recall its ambassador to Paraguay for consultations, as most Latin American governments have done.

The opposition called for Lugo's impeachment after a deadly land dispute between landless farmers and police led to 17 deaths June 15.

"We have been closely following the events, and we remain quite concerned about the speed of the process used for this impeachment in Paraguay," Nuland told reporters Monday during the regular news briefing.

She said Washington was consulting with "a broad cross-section" of its partners in the Organisation of American States and "taking stock of what our reaction will be."

Chavez Sunday recalled his ambassador to Paraguay and halted oil supplies to Paraguay in protest of Lugo's ouster, while the Argentine Foreign Ministry said the South American trading bloc Mercosur had suspended Paraguay from a summit next week.

Other countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Peru said they would not recognise the government led by Franco.


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Title: Paraguayan President's Ouster is not Coup: US

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