Brazil given ultimatum on Zelaya

 

Brazil has 10 days to decide on the status of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, who took refuge in the Brazilian embassy on Monday after sneaking back in the country, the de facto government said yesterday.

Mr Zelaya was overthrown and exiled by troops after a coup in June, but this week he returned home, sparking a tense face-off with the de facto government that has promised to arrest him in Central America's worst crisis in years.

"We urge the Brazilian government to define the status of Mr Zelaya in a period of no more than 10 days," the de facto administration said in a statement. "If not, we will be obliged to take additional measures."

The statement did not give details on those measures.

Hundreds of soldiers and riot police have surrounded the Brazilian embassy. The United Nations Security Council on Friday condemned harassment of the Brazilian embassy.

Mr Zelaya, a logging magnate, upset conservative elites by allying himself with Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez. He demands to be restored to power, but the de facto government says November elections will resolve the crisis.

His return has stoked tensions in Honduras, a coffee and textile producing nation. One man was shot and killed in a clash between police and Zelaya supporters this week as pressure mounted to let the leftist return to power.

The United States, European Union and Organization of American States have urged dialogue to bring Mr Zelaya back to office. But the de facto government insists that he must face justice at home.

Soldiers toppled Mr Zelaya at gunpoint and sent him into exile after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest, saying he had broken the law by pushing for constitutional reforms critics say were an attempt to change presidential term limits and extend his rule.

Reuters