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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 11:51 UK

Micheletti: Elections must go ahead

Roberto Micheletti in a file photo from August
Roberto Micheletti was sworn in after Mr Zelaya was exiled on 28 June

The interim leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, has insisted that the only way out of the current political crisis is by going ahead with presidential elections planned for November.

He says the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, must accept this before any talks can take place.

Below is an edited transcript of an interview he gave in Spanish to BBC Mundo from the capital, Tegucigalpa.

How did Manuel Zelaya enter Honduras without the government's knowledge?

We suspected that the movement of a few politicians from here to Nicaragua where he was could lead to an attempt to enter the country... In this country we have such long borders that we can't keep an eye on them all.

Now that Mr Zelaya is in Honduras, how do you see the way out of this situation? Would you be willing to talk with him directly?

We can sign documents later, but first I want to hear from him that he accepts the elections; that we are going to hold elections; that he accepts peace and quiet; that he is willing to call on his followers not to stay out in the streets. Unfortunately, I believe that he has already lost control over the leftist individuals that are a part of these movements in this country. But we first want to see his actions. We know perfectly well already Mr Zelaya's actions. He has been a man who has violated any promise that he has made... For example, he promised that he wasn't going to have a constitutional referendum and then he tried to.

Are you willing to speak to Mr Zelaya so that he can tell you exactly what his intentions are?

He has already said it publicly. His intentions were to return, carry out a constitutional referendum (on presidential re-elections), put an end to the Supreme Court, put an end to the National Congress, and establish a dictatorship here in this country. He has said this publicly.

Would you be willing to host, for example, the secretary general of the OAS or some other Latin American president so you can get negotiations started with Mr Zelaya?

I can't figure out what we would negotiate. The negotiations we have in Honduras are to hold elections on 29 November, choose a new president, and hand over power on 27 January as mandated by the constitution and electoral law. That is our plan, that is our task. We have been working on this. They are the ones who have put up obstacles.

Yes, but if through an intermediary Mr Zelaya were to say that, yes we will have an election, but he has his conditions and you have yours, do you think you could initiate a dialogue?

I don't believe we would have any objections to listening. Definitely we would not have any objections to listening to proposals that might be made.

What is happening with Brazil and their complaints? They allege that the embassy has been surrounded, that running water and other services have been cut. Is this correct?

No, they had a power outage last night because of the vandalism that Mr Zelaya's people caused... We have been acting with the greatest responsibility. I hope the employees get the opportunity to say if there was a single policeman that tried to go through the fence or the main entrance of the embassy. There was nothing of the sort... We don't have a quarrel with any country.

Would you be willing to use force to resolve this situation?

We have never resorted to the use of force. I have been a congressman for 29 years. I've tried to fight for democracy. I've tried to uphold it. In 1980, we returned to constitutional order through a constitutional referendum. I was a member of the constitutional assembly. I know what it is to fight for democracy and I wouldn't use force under any justification. The army has instructions; the police have instructions to fulfil their constitutional mandate.

Do you have a message for the international community?

I wish to tell all of the countries to think about having accused Honduras without first having knowledge of the constitution of the republic and the laws... What we've done is to defend our constitution against those who attempted to break the constitutional order through a poll that was in effect a constitutional referendum. And this gentleman keeps saying this publicly that upon his return he will have a constitutional referendum, and that is not permitted under a democratic government such as ours.



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