Honduras’ de facto president said Thursday that he is willing to resign and let ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya back into the country, as long as Zelaya gives up his quest for leadership.
The new proposal calls for the person next in line, as required by the constitution, to succeed de facto President Roberto Micheletti. Under terms of the proposal, Zelaya could return as a private citizen, but not be allowed to resume his post. Presidential elections held after both resigned would be monitored by international observers such as the Organization of American States and the European Union, according to the proposal. Zelaya did not immediately issue a response to the offer. Until now, Micheletti has made clear that Zelaya would be arrested if he returned. The offer comes two months after Zelaya was seized by the military in his pajamas and forced to leave the country. Micheletti has insisted that Zelaya was not overthrown and was replaced through constitutional means.
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The political crisis stemmed from Zelaya’s plan to hold a referendum that could have changed the constitution and allowed longer term limits. The country’s congress had outlawed the vote and the supreme court had ruled it illegal. The Organization of American States sent a delegation to Honduras on Tuesday to promote the so-called San Jose Accord, which seeks an end to the political turmoil and the return of Zelaya to office. Micheletti’s government declined to sign the agreement. On Thursday, the United States said it was considering cutting off all aid to Honduras. Washington froze its assistance to Honduras after Zelaya was removed from office and stopped issuing visas in the Central American country earlier this week. Further steps could choke off as much $200 million in additional aid dispensed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, funded by the U.S. government. The United Nations and the European Union also have said that they do not recognize Micheletti’s provisional government.