Honduran president’s 24 July return

From British daily The Morning Star:

Honduran leader heads for home

Thursday 23 July 2009

by Our Foreign Desk

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya is set to return to Honduras on July 24 after coup chiefs rejected an internationally mediated plan that would have restored constitutional order in the country.

Mr Zelaya, who was toppled and flown out of the country in a June 28 military coup, said that US-backed talks mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias had failed because “the coup leaders totally refuse to reinstate me.

“I will go back unarmed, pacifically, so that Honduras can return to peace and tranquillity,” he declared at a news conference on Wednesday evening in Managua.

“My wife and kids will accompany me and the military will be responsible for any harm” that befalls them, Mr Zelaya added.

On Wednesday, Mr Arias presented an 11-point plan that calls for Mr Zelaya’s return to the country as president in a national unity government until his term ends in January.

In return, the current de facto leadership would see sanctions against the country lifted, a limited amnesty for political crimes and a bar on Mr Zelaya seeking constitutional reforms designed to let him seek another term in office.

But representatives of the coup regime flatly rejected Mr Zelaya’s return as president.

Rixi Moncada of Mr Zelaya’s delegation urged the United Nations and the Organisation of American States to now “adopt the coercive measures necessary to force the interim government to submit” to the resolutions that both organisations have adopted demanding the return of the constitutional premier.

Meanwhile, National Front against the Coup activists returned to the streets of Tegucigalpa on Wednesday, the 24th consecutive day of resistance to the de facto regime, and launched a general strike on July 23 to weaken the business chiefs who are backing the coup leaders.

The campaigners are poised to kick off a mass demonstration on July 24 to welcome Mr Zelaya.

The Honduran military thwarted Mr Zelaya’s first attempt to return on July 5 by blocking the runway at Tegucigalpa airport, sparking clashes with pro-democracy protesters that left at least one activist dead.

See also here. And here.


Update 24 July: here. General strike in Honduras: here.

SOUTH AMERICA: Mercosur Summit Calls for Zelaya’s Return: here.

Exiled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya sought to increase pressure on his country’s coup leaders on Saturday, promising to camp out across the border in Nicaragua with his supporters: here.

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