Honduras deal thrown into doubt
Saturday, October 31, 2009
08:32 Mecca time, 05:32 GMT
Honduras deal thrown into doubt
A deal to end the political standoff in Honduras has been thrown into doubt after a negotiator for the de facto government suggested that Manuel Zelaya, the ousted president, will not be returned to power.
The comments by Arturo Corrales prompted confusion on Saturday as it had been thought Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, Honduras's de facto leader, had reached a deal.
The two sides have been at odds for four months over whether Zelaya should be reinstated before presidential elections due to be held in November.
It was thought that, through the deal, Zelaya could be returned to power before elections on November 29, if the measure won support from congress and the supreme court.
But Corrales said that since congress would not be in session before the elections, Zelaya would not be confirmed in office.
"The congress is not in session, and I understand that it is programmed to return after the elections, because each one of the representatives is, at this very moment, in their respective districts campaigning around the clock," he said.
Terms of deal
The deal calls for the formation of a national unity government, a committee to ensure the veracity of the November 29 elections, and a truth and reconciliation commission.
The accord also asks foreign governments to reverse measures like suspending aid and cancelling the travel visas of coup leaders and the members of the de facto government.
Andres Conteris, a reporter for the US-based public television and radio show Democracy Now, who has been holed up with Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, said the remarks by Corrales went against the agreement.
"This is absolutely a contravention of both the spirit and the word of the accord that was signed today," he told Al Jazeera by phone from the embassy in Tegucigalpa.
"For the negotiator of the coup regime to say that the legislature is not going to meet until after the election is a contravention because the accord specifically states that no later than November 5, the new constitutional authority of the unified government will be empowered as the new government of Honduras."
Zelaya and Micheletti held talks separately on Thursday with Tom Shannon, the US assistant secretary of state, and Dan Restrepo, Washington's special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs.
Barack Obama, the US president, had faced criticism from human-rights groups who said Washington should do more to pressure Micheletti.
Zelaya remains holed up at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa after re-entering the country in late September, two months after he was forced from the presidential palace and into exile.
He was forced from power on June 28, the same day that he planned to hold a non-binding referendum on the constitution that had been declared illegal by the Honduran congress and supreme court.
Opponents of Zelaya say that the public vote was aimed at winning support for an extension to presidential term limits, claims that he has denied.
The resumption of negotiations between the two sides came a day after Honduras's military-backed government, which is not recognised internationally, lodged legal proceedings against Brazil at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The interim government accused Brazil on Wednesday of interfering in Honduras's internal affairs by sheltering Zelaya at its embassy, claims dismissed by the Brazilian government.