An OAS official told The Associated Press that a decision on clearing the way for Cuba to rejoin the group could be postponed unless there is a consensus. In that case, Tuesday's meeting could produce a statement supporting efforts to find a solution.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who arrived in El Salvador on Sunday, is scheduled to attend.
In a positive development in U.S.-Cuban relations, a State Department official said Sunday that Cuba has agreed to resume talks with the administration on legal immigration of Cubans to the United States and on direct mail service.
U.S. officials say they are ready to support lifting the resolution that suspended Cuba from the OAS, but want to tie readmission to democratic reforms in Cuba. Nicaragua, backed by Venezuela, Bolivia and others, favors an approach that would declare Cuba's expulsion an error and remove all legal hurdles to it regaining its membership.
Diplomats at OAS headquarters in Washington have tried frantically to forge a compromise. Nicaragua has threatened to press for a vote on its proposal.
Albert R. Ramdin, the OAS' assistant secretary general, sought to play down the prospect of a final agreement on Cuba's status.
"Theoretically we can always vote, but in practical political terms it seems that it's not an option," Ramdin said in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the meeting site.
A vote could put the U.S. on the spot. Although the OAS generally operates by consensus, a two-thirds majority vote, or 23 countries, is all that's needed for a resolution to pass.
One senior U.S. official involved in the negotiations would not rule out the possibility that Clinton might skip the meeting unless there was a compromise acceptable to the U.S. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
The administration is committed to a set of principles the OAS approved in 2001 that enshrines democracy as a right of all people in the Western Hemisphere.
The meeting comes at a delicate time in President Barack Obama's outreach to Cuba. Already, his administration has lifted travel and financial restrictions on Americans with family in Cuba. In addition Sunday's news that Cuba has consented to restarting immigration talks, Cuba has expressed a willingness to cooperate with the U.S. on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, and on hurricane disaster preparedness.
Cuban leader Raul Castro and his ailing brother, Fidel, have reacted coolly to the easing of restrictions and demanded an end to the decades-old U.S. embargo on the island.
U.S. officials have ruled that out - and Cuba's return to the OAS - until Cuba makes moves toward democratic pluralism, releases political prisoners and respects fundamental rights.
But Cuba's Communist Party daily Granma ended a three-day denunciation of the OAS on Friday by saying Cuba "does not need the OAS. It does not want it, even reformed. We will never return to that decrepit old house of Washington."
Some in the OAS, notably the leftist presidents of Nicaragua and Venezuela, Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez, maintain that neither the United States nor the OAS can dictate what Cuba has to do to return.
When foreign ministers meet on Tuesday in San Pedro Sula, the U.S. will be the only country in the hemisphere without full diplomatic relations with Cuba. El Salvador, the only other OAS member without such ties, planned to restore them on Monday when its new president, Mauricio Funes, takes office.
Clinton was to attend the inauguration of Funes, the first Salvadoran president from the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
The FMLN is the second former Central American foe of the United States to take power democratically since Nicaragua elected Sandinista leader Ortega in 2006. It's one more lurch to the left in Latin America.
NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS
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