(AFP) – Jun 25, 2012
WASHINGTON — The United States voiced concern Monday about the speed of the impeachment of Paraguay's president Fernando Lugo but said it has not determined whether the country experienced a coup.
Paraguay's Senate on Friday held a snap vote to oust the left-leaning former Catholic priest over his handling of a deadly land dispute, leading to charges across Latin America that the legislators mounted a coup.
"We remain quite concerned about the speed of the process used for this impeachment in Paraguay," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
But Nuland said that the United States had also taken note that Paraguay's new leadership has committed to going ahead with upcoming elections.
The State Department also revealed that one day before his impeachment, Lugo met with the US ambassador to Paraguay, James Thessin. It said that the meeting was at Lugo's request and did not offer further details.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke over the weekend to regional power Brazil's foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, as the United States determines its reaction, Nuland said.
Nuland declined to say whether the United States would back possible moves to oust Paraguay from the Organization of American States when the Washington-based body holds a special meeting.
"I think we look forward to seeing how much unity there is there in the OAS on next steps," Nuland said.
The Organization of American States said it would meet on Paraguay on Tuesday. The meeting had initially been scheduled for Wednesday.
The United States generally takes time before describing events overseas as coups as such a designation legally binds the administration to curb cooperation with a country.
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