Honduran Congress to decide on Zelaya’s reinstatement (Roundup)

October 30th, 2009 - 11:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Tegucigalpa/Washington, Oct 30 (DPA) The international community saluted Friday an agreement between ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti to solve the political crisis in the Central American country.
The Organisation of American States announced late Thursday that an agreement has been reached, whereby the Honduran Congress is to decide whether Zelaya is reinstated as president, after being authorised to handle the matter by the Supreme Court.

Zelaya was ousted from office and sent into exile in a military coup June 28. He secretly returned to Tegucigalpa Sep 21, and has since been holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in the Honduran capital.

“I want to congratulate the people of Honduras as well as President Zelaya and Mr Micheletti for reaching a historic agreement,” US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Afghanistan.

Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary-general of the Organisation of American States (OAS), said in Washington that he was “enormously satisfied” with the deal.

“If the agreement is applied in good faith it is going to solve the crisis, and I have no reason to think that there is no good faith,” Insulza said. “The dominant thing was the desire to reach an agreement.”

The deal late Thursday was announced by OAS Political Affairs Secretary Victor Rico in Tegucigalpa.

The negotiating parties agreed that Congress would be given no deadline, and could not be pressured to decide in favour of Zelaya’s return to power.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Thomas Shannon, who helped to negotiate the agreement, said Washington would now recognise the Honduran general elections scheduled for Nov 29.

Until now, the international community had refused to recognise the elections - which were scheduled before the coup - since they were being held under what they saw as illegitimate conditions.

The deal should lead to the formation of a government of national reconciliation, Micheletti said.

Zelaya told Radio Globo and Canal 36 television that he was “satisfied” with the agreement which was a “symbol of peace” and might restore calm to Honduras.

The ousted president said the agreement followed a “very strong initiative” by Clinton, without giving further details.

Zelaya said his eventual departure from the Brazilian embassy would be decided on in the next few days.

Amid great uncertainty as to the details of the deal, Zelaya’s supporters celebrated on the streets of Tegucigalpa because they thought he was going to be reinstated immediately.

A portion of the opposition and the military toppled Zelaya in the wake of a controversy as Zelaya sought constitutional reform. Critics accused him of wanting to change the rules to allow himself to stand for another term in office, although Zelaya himself denied it.

The international community refused to recognise the de facto Honduran government and repeatedly demanded Zelaya’s reinstatement as the country’s legitimate president.

Zelaya had been accused of violating the constitution, treason and abuse of office, and his opponents had been pushing to have him put on trial.

The OAS suspended Honduras from membership after the coup. On Friday, Insulza described the deal as a “great triumph for the region, which was able to stay united.”

“We were not wrong in insisting on dialogue as the solution,” Insulza said. “It took longer than we expected but in the end we got constructive results.”

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