Honduran rulers insist Zelaya cannot be president
The de facto Honduran government insisted on Thursday that it would not allow ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to office, dampening hopes of a deal to end a political crisis after last month’s coup.
Roberto Micheletti, named president by Congress after Zelaya was toppled in the June 28 coup, said he was open to dialogue to resolve the crisis but would not accept Zelaya back in power, as mediators are asking.
“I’ve clearly said it before and I say it again, if there is a solution where I have to step down I will do it willingly, but I cannot allow Zelaya to return as president,” Micheletti told reporters.
Rafael Pineda, who as minister of the presidency is No. 2 in the de facto government, told Reuters the administration was “firm, unchangeable” against Zelaya’s return to power.
In neighboring Nicaragua, the exiled Zelaya asked a U.S. delegation to step up measures against the coup leaders and vowed to take his case to the International Criminal Court.
With mediator Costa Rica’s efforts making little progress, Micheletti invited Enrique Iglesias, former Inter-American Development Bank head, to come to Honduras as a special envoy to try and rekindle negotiations.
The coup leaders are under pressure from Washington to reinstate Zelaya, and a source close to the de facto government said Micheletti might consider letting Zelaya back if there were assurances he would not try to derail democracy.
But Micheletti said on Thursday that if Zelaya came back it would be to face trial. Zelaya incited profound criticism while in office by allying with Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez and pushing to allow presidential re-election.
“If he wants to retake control of the government, not under any circumstance,” Micheletti said.
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