The Honduran consul general in Los Angeles has been fired because she declined to express support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya, Honduran embassy officials said Friday.

Vivian Panting was one of four officials who were removed from their positions because they did not respond to a letter from the Zelaya government asking them to write a statement with their political position, the embassy officials said. The other consular officials were in San Francisco, Washington and New York.

Zelaya was deposed in a coup by Roberto Micheletti at the end of June. President Obama has said that Zelaya needs to be reinstated and the democracy restored. Honduran consular officials appointed under Zelaya's government continue to hold their posts in the United States.

Panting said Friday that she did not provide a statement to the Zelaya government because she did not want to take sides.

"I cannot polarize my community," she said in an interview. "I represent the interests of half a million people here."

Panting said that the vice consul was appointed to take her position.

-- Anna Gorman

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