Honduras: Zelaya and Micheletti have reached an agreement
Honduran negotiators reached agreement Wednesday on a plan to restore President Manuel Zelaya to office and end a political crisis triggered by his ouster in a June coup.
“We have agreed in a document on point number six, which relates to the restitution of the powers of state to where they were before June 28, 2009,” Victor Meza, Zelaya’s representative, told a news conference.
Restoring the country to the situation before the coup would imply Zelaya’s return to office, something that had been opposed by Robert Micheletti, the head of the coup-backed interim government.
Micheletti and Zelaya must now ratify the agreement reached by their representatives in talks here.
Meza, Zelaya’s chief of staff, refused to provide details of the draft agreement, saying the negotiators had agreed not to make it public before Zelaya and Micheletti had had a chance to review it.
“I am optimistic by nature,” Meza said as he left the talks at a Tegucigalpa hotel to brief Zelaya at the Brazilian embassy, where the deposed president has taken refuge since his surprise return last month.
The settlement “will depend on what the leaders say,” Meza said, adding that “an agreement of this nature could be the way out” of the crisis.
But he cautioned “it is not easy to find a way out of a crisis that is so particular and so charged with tension.”
In Washington, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, which paved the way for the talks, expressed satisfaction with the progress made.
“There has been progress and it gives us hope that it will lead to a Honduran solution to a Honduran crisis,” OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza said.
But he added: “It isn’t over until it’s over.”
Zelaya, 57, had said earlier he would only accept a deal under which he would return to office before presidential elections set for November 29.
To do otherwise would legitimize his June 28 ouster and would be “a permit for more coups,” he said.
In earlier talks, negotiators had agreed on most other points of an accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
The points previously agreed to included the creation of a unity government, that Zelaya drop plans to rewrite the constitution, and that the November polls would be held on schedule.
They also agreed that a commission should monitor the deal’s implementation, that the military would fall under the electoral commission’s authority until the polls and that the international community would be asked to drop sanctions against the impoverished Central American nation.
The political crisis has compounded the impact of worldwide economic woes on the impoverished nation of some 7.6 million people.
Amid a wave of international condemnation and aid freezes, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have called for Zelaya’s return to office, suspended some 30 million dollars in financial aid programs and canceled the US visas of top regime officials.
Zelaya antagonized the country’s elite by aligning himself with Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez.
The de facto government had called for him to be arrested on charges including treason and corruption.