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Page last updated at 07:15 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 08:15 UK

US 'lukewarm' in backing Zelaya

Mr Zelaya addresses his supporters in Nicaragua on 26 July
Mr Zelaya insists he remains the democratically elected leader

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has criticised the United States for not doing enough, in his view, to condemn the government which replaced him.

Mr Zelaya was forced out of power, and into exile, last month. He is staying close to the border, in Nicaragua.

He says the US has stopped describing his removal from power as a "coup".

On Friday, he took a few symbolic steps back across the border into Honduras. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the move as "reckless".

Mr Zelaya, wearing his trademark white cowboy hat, returned to the border for the second day running on Saturday, demanding to be allowed home.

Mutual frustration

The US has opposed Mr Zelaya's dismissal and expulsion. But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticised Mr Zelaya's short excursion into Honduras, saying it was "not conducive to the broader effort to restore constitutional order".

Mr Zelaya says the US should be doing more to condemn what he describes as the "repressive" nature of the interim government in Honduras.

Soldiers blocking a road at Jacagalpa, 85 km west of Tegucigalpa. use their riot shields to keep off the rain, 26 July 2009
Road blocks have hampered demonstrations

Our correspondent Stephen Gibbs, who is in the capital Tegucigalpa, says Mr Zelaya is showing signs of frustration with the US administration.

And, says our correspondent, the feeling appears to be mutual.

Our correspondent adds that with a diplomatic solution looking more remote, Mr Zelaya's best chance of returning to power would appear to be either a popular uprising, or a mutiny in the army.

Both, he says, seem unlikely. Inside Honduras there remains substantial support for the leadership which replaced him.

Demonstrations against it have been hampered by extensive military checkpoints, and many of Mr Zelaya's supporters are returning home.

Negotiated settlement

And, says our correspondent, there are no perceptible signs of military disunity.

US news reports had suggested that a statement by the Honduran army, declaring its support for the principles of a negotiated settlement, might indicate it was more open than the government to Mr Zelaya's return to power.

But in an interview with the BBC, the head of the Honduran joint chiefs of staff said that was not the case.

The statement, he said, was intended to make the point that the army is subordinate to the government.

Mr Zelaya has been in exile since 28 June when a coup forced him from power. He is staying in the Nicaraguan border town of Ocotal, accompanied by a few dozen supporters.

The government which replaced him says he was attempting to stay in power indefinitely.

He insists he remains the democratically-elected leader of Honduras.

Talks in Costa Rica aimed at resolving the political crisis broke up last week with no agreement between the two sides.



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