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Page last updated at 04:40 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 05:40 UK

Honduras yields on OAS delegation

Jose Miguel Insulza and Manuel Zelaya (1 July 2009)
Jose Miguel Insulza (L) has demanded Mr Zelaya's immediate reinstatement

The interim government in Honduras now says that it is willing to accept mediation talks with a delegation from the Organisation of American States.

But it says it will only do so if the OAS Secretary-General, Jose Miguel Insulza, attends only as an observer.

It had earlier refused to accept the delegation because it said Mr Insulza lacked objectivity.

He has called for the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled in a military coup in June.

It's not known whether the OAS will accept the terms for the visit.

The meeting had been planned for Tuesday, but a new date has yet to be announced.

Mr Zelaya was sent into exile after a coup in June amid a power struggle over his plans for constitutional change.

His critics said the move was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, and paving the way for his re-election.

Following the army-led coup on 28 June, the speaker of Congress, Roberto Micheletti - constitutionally second in line to the presidency - was sworn in as interim leader.

The OAS has demanded Mr Zelaya's immediate reinstatement.

It suspended Honduras' membership after the interim government failed to abide by a deadline to restore Mr Zelaya to power.

'Damage to democracy'

Mr Insulza was to be accompanied on the visit to Tegucigalpa on Tuesday by the foreign ministers of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

But on Sunday, the Honduran foreign ministry announced that it would turn back the group because of the presence of the OAS secretary-general.

It also said other unnamed countries it considered more sympathetic were not represented in the delegation.

But later on Sunday evening, it relented and said that it would accept Mr Insulza, so long as he was only an observer.

The OAS hopes Mr Micheletti can be persuaded to accept a detailed plan proposed by the Costa Rican President, Oscar Arias.

Under this, Mr Zelaya would return to serve out his presidency and a government of national reconciliation would be set up. There would be an amnesty for political crimes committed during the crisis, and presidential elections would be brought forward to 28 October.

But the interim government says his return to power is an impossibility. Mr Zelaya says it is "non-negotiable".



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