Ousted Honduran leader sets Monday deadline on counteroffer

Zelaya smiles during a meeting with members of his negotiation committee Friday at the Brazilian Embassy.
Representatives of deposed President Manuel Zelaya said Friday that the interim government of coup leader Roberto Micheletti has the weekend to decide whether to accept their proposal to resolve the leadership crisis.

“President Zelaya has decided to wait until Monday to find out if they accept the proposal, which includes a consult with the Supreme Court,” said Ricardo Martinez at the Hotel Capitalino in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Zelaya’s proposal would give the decision about resolving the crisis to the Congress, he said. If no agreement is reached by Monday, “then the dialogue is broken,” he said. His comments came seconds after Micheletti’s representatives said the two sides had resolved most of their disagreements and would continue to work. “We have total and absolute will to continue,” Vilma Morales told reporters. “Today, we handed over a proposal that was received by the representatives of ex-President Zelaya for their analysis. Today, this afternoon, half an hour ago, they gave us a counterproposal, which we will analyze and study.” Arturo Corrales, another Micheletti representative, said both proposals represented advances toward a solution and vowed that the two sides would be “in permanent communication” over the weekend. “The dialogue is not suspending,” he said. The fragility of the talks was underscored by comments — made shortly before the back-to-back news conferences — by Patricia Rodas, who said the talks had broken down.

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Rodas served as foreign minister in Zelaya’s administration prior to the June 28 coup that removed him from power. “The process of dialogue initiated by the Organization of American States at the request of our foreign ministers — and not the other way around — has definitely broken down,” she told reporters in Cochabamba, Bolivia. “And the intransigence of the dictatorship made it break down in its inner core … for the Honduran people, for President Zelaya and for whoever accompanies them on this fight for his return.” Zelaya’s representatives have rejected a proposal from the interim government that would have thrown to the Supreme Court the decision about who will rule the country. Zelaya’s proposal would give that decision to the Congress.