February 16, 2018 / 8:28 PM / a month ago

Honduran president vows to fight graft as OAS mission head resigns

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has pledged to keep fighting corruption after the head of an international anti-graft mission resigned and accused authorities in the Central American nation of not providing enough support.

Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez adjusts his glasses during a visit to the construction site of the new facilities of the Government of Honduras in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Hernandez wrote on Twitter late Thursday night that he regretted the resignation of Juan Jimenez, a Peruvian who led the Organization of American States (OAS) mission, and would meet with mission officials to discuss the best way forward.

“The government of Honduras reiterates its commitment to the fight against corruption and impunity and its intent to continue to strengthen its operators of justice,” wrote Hernandez, who late last year was declared the winner of a disputed Nov. 26 election.

The Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) was created by the OAS in 2016 at the request of the Honduran government, following popular marches demanding an independent investigation of corruption.

Jimenez, 53, resigned on Thursday, a day after Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the OAS, sent a letter to Hernandez criticizing the results of the mission. Jimenez said clashes with the OAS leadership were also a reason for his resignation.

In an interview on local television, Jimenez said the mission could not be successful without the support of OAS leadership.

“We here on the ground do not have the capacity to mobilize resources - everything is done from Washington,” said Jimenez, who previously served as minister of justice in Peru.

The OAS did not respond to a request for comment.

Heide Fulton, who heads the U.S. mission in Honduras, expressed support on Thursday for the OAS effort in a post on Twitter that included a photo of her with Jimenez.

“Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with @OEA_MACCIH,” she wrote. “Their work is incredibly important for the future of Honduras.”

An anti-corruption body in neighbouring Guatemala, the U.N-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), has recently come under political pressure after investigating the Guatemalan president’s family.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Additional reporting and writing by Julia Love; Editing by Paul Simao

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