Page last updated at 04:53 GMT, Saturday, 4 July 2009 05:53 UK

Honduran court defiant on Zelaya

A pro-Zelaya rally in Tegulcigalpa, 3 July
Supporters of Manuel Zelaya continue to demonstrate in Tegulcigalpa

The Supreme Court of Honduras has rejected a demand by the Organization of American States to reinstate the ousted President, Manuel Zelaya.

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza was told the court's position was "irreversible" when he met its president for two hours in the capital Tegulcigalpa.

Mr Insulza, in Honduras on a mission to have Mr Zelaya reinstated, said he had detected no will to bring him back.

Troops forced President Zelaya out of the country on Sunday.

[OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza] can negotiate all he wants, except for Zelaya's situation
Enrique Ortez
Honduran interim foreign minister

The interim government formed after his removal says Mr Zelaya's attempts to change the Honduran constitution, and possibly extend his power, justified the army's actions.

It can now expect diplomatic isolation and likely international sanctions, the BBC's Stephen Gibbs reports from Tegulcigalpa.

The OAS is expected to meet on Saturday to formally suspend the membership of Honduras.

Mr Zelaya is expected to return from exile to the country on Sunday, accompanied by OAS officials and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The new Honduran government says he will be arrested.

'Despotic ambitions'

Danilo Izaguirre, spokesman for the supreme court, confirmed that it had rejected the OAS secretary general's demand.

Miguel Insulza arrives in Honduras
Miguel Insulza says he faces a difficult task in the Central American state

"Insulza asked Honduras to reinstate Zelaya but the president of the court [Jorge Rivera] categorically answered that there is an arrest warrant for him," he said.

"Now the OAS has to decide what it will do."

Speaking to reporters, the OAS chief said: "We wanted to ask that this situation [Mr Zelaya's removal] be reversed. Unfortunately, one must say that there appears to be no willingness to do this."

Ending his visit to Honduras, he said the change of government last week had unequivocally been a "military coup".

Mr Zelaya had wanted to hold a vote on convening a constitutional convention - a move that could have removed the current one-term limit for presidents.

Instead troops - backed by Congress and the courts - took him from the presidential palace and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

The new leadership enjoys the support of a substantial proportion of the population and says it stands for democracy, our correspondent reports.

It suggests that Mr Zelaya had despotic ambitions, and therefore the extreme action of removing him from power was justified.

But governments around the world disagree, and believe that a clear message should be sent to Honduras that using the army to depose a president is not acceptable, our correspondent says.

Saturday deadline

The OAS has said it will suspend Honduras if Mr Zelaya is not reinstated by Saturday.

Mr Zelaya himself insists that he remains the country's democratically elected leader.

The interim government - led by Roberto Micheletti, previously the speaker of Congress - says it may bring elections forward from their scheduled date of 29 November.

The OAS chief has said he will not see Mr Micheletti in order to avoid legitimising the government.

Mr Micheletti's foreign minister, Enrique Ortez, said Mr Insulza could "negotiate all he wants, except for Zelaya's situation".

"That is not negotiable because he cannot return to Honduras and if he does he will be arrested and tried."

Thousands of Zelaya supporters demonstrated at a rally of their own in Tegucigalpa.

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