Honduras - Foreign policy

Maduro needs to address a dispute between Honduras and El Salvador over the maritime and territorial boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca area. This dispute has stretched back to when the two countries fought the "Hundred-Hour War" in 1969. The International Court of Justice in The Hague made a settlement of the dispute with a 1992 ruling awarding most of the territory to Honduras. Carlos Flores asked the United Nations (UN) Security Council to force compliance. In January 1998, Honduras and El Salvador signed a border demarcation treaty to implement the terms of the ICJ decree. The treaty awaits legal ratification in both countries, but three days before Maduro took office, Salvadoran President Francisco Flores announced that the Salvadoran government was preparing an appeal of the ICJ ruling. In January 2002, Maduro said that the best way to resolve the issue would be to submit the matter to international adjudication. He denied charges that Honduras was in an expansionist mode.

Honduras has been involved in another border dispute, involving a disputed maritime boundary treaty with Nicaragua. Nicaragua placed a 35% tariff on goods from Honduras, which the Central American Court of Justice ruled to be illegal in 2001.

One area in which Honduras has shown particular political independence is in its continuous effort to develop economic ties with Taiwan. Despite China's opposition, Honduras has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Taiwan. In return, Taiwan has encouraged investment in the country and has made low interest loans to the government. Taiwan established good relations with the new Maduro administration in April 2002, and Maduro visited Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian in October 2002. Taiwan pledges to aid Honduras in the areas of social security, education, health and hygiene, and agricultural development.

The United States and Honduras have close and friendly relations. The United States recognized Honduras' support in the war on terrorism that began after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. During the 1980s, Honduras supported U.S. policy in Central America, opposing the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and a leftist insurgency in El Salvador. The United States maintains a small presence at a Honduran military base, and its troops have assisted Honduran soldiers in clearing land mines from the country's border with Nicaragua. Some 400,000 Hondurans live in the United States, thus immigration issues are an important matter for both countries.

Japan is the second largest donor of aid to Honduras, after the United States. Since 1975, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has, in conjunction with the Japanese government, donated approximately US $1 billion in aid to Honduras. JICA is responsible for training engineers and administrative officials from developing countries who go on to fill positions of power in developing the educational, environmental, and local governmental sectors of society, in addition to improving infrastructure, agriculture, and healthcare. JICA has pledged support for Honduras well into the 21st century.

Honduras is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American Common Market (CACM), and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Banco Centroamericano de Integracion Economico—BCIE). During 1995–96, Honduras for the first time served as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council.

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