Page last updated at 01:41 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

Ousted Honduras President Zelaya 'will meet successor'

Supporters of Manuel Zelaya protest in Tegucigalpa
Mr Zelaya is still currently holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Honduras

Ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya is due to meet his elected successor, Porfirio Lobo, in the Dominican Republic, its president says.

President Leonel Fernandez said he expected the two to meet on Monday, however neither has confirmed this.

Mr Zelaya has sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Honduras following his return to the country in September.

He refuses to accept the election of Mr Lobo as his successor, and wants to serve out the remainder of his term.

But Congress in Honduras voted overwhelmingly against allowing him to do so, something Mr Zelaya has said "ratifies the coup".

'Separate discussions'

Earlier this week the government blocked a plan for the ousted president to fly to Mexico, saying he could only leave the country if he was offered formal asylum elsewhere.

Mr Fernandez said he expected the two men to meet in Santo Domingo to discuss how to resolve the political crisis in Honduras.

He said Mr Zelaya would arrive on Sunday, followed by Mr Lobo the next day. He said he would meet them separately before any joint discussions could take place, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported.

"As of Sunday and Monday, we will have both figures of the Honduran political world in the Dominican Republic," he said.

President Leonel Fernandez
President Leonel Fernandez says he has organised a meeting

The BBC's Central America correspondent Stephen Gibbs says many details about the meeting still remain unclear.

There has been no confirmation as yet whether the interim government that came into power following the June coup had agreed to allow the meeting to go ahead or how Mr Zelaya would even travel to the region.

In Honduras, information minister Rene Zepeda said there had been no request from either Mr Zelaya or the Dominican Republic seeking permission for the ousted president to leave the country without fear of arrest on charges of treason and abuse of power.

'Open invitation'

Mr Zelaya told AP he was "thankful" to President Fernandez for trying to arrange a meeting but also did not confirm if the meeting with Mr Lobo had actually been organised.

Mr Lobo, who is due to assume the presidency in January, has also not publicly confirmed his attendance.

Mr Zelaya's term is due to end on 27 January.

He was forced into exile on 28 June after trying to hold a vote on whether a constituent assembly should be set up to look at rewriting the constitution.

His critics said the vote, which was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, aimed to remove the current one-term limit on serving as president and pave the way for his possible re-election.

Mr Zelaya has repeatedly denied this and pointed out that it would have been impossible to change the constitution before his term in office was up.

Our correspondent says it may be that the invitation from President Fernandez is more of an open challenge to all sides to find a compromise and not a genuine breakthrough.

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