Honduras talks 'may resume' on Saturday


Honduran interim president Roberto Micheletti said today he had been informed the Costa Rican mediator in the Honduras political crisis would ask the two sides to resume talks on Saturday.

"Unofficially, we've been told that we'll be invited to Costa Rica on Saturday by President Oscar Arias to continue the talks," Mr Micheletti, installed by Honduras' Congress after the June 28th coup in his country, told reporters.

Mr Micheletti, sworn in hours after the armed forces removed Mr Zelaya from power and expelled him to Costa Rica, held firm in a Reuters interview to his position that Mr Zelaya could not return to power under any circumstances.

No foreign government has recognized Mr Micheletti as president, and the United States and the Organization of American States have called for Mr Zelaya to be restored.

Mr Micheletti's interim government is holding talks with the ousted president's representatives through the mediation of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, but the talks have resulted in little apparent progress, aside from an agreement to keep talking.

"If he [Zelaya] comes peacefully first to appear before the authorities . . . I don't have any problem [with an amnesty for him]," Mr Micheletti told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa.

But Mr Micheletti said Mr Zelaya could not return to power "under any conditions" because he contravened the constitution by seeking to illegally extend his rule through the lifting of presidential term limits.

Mr Zelaya, a logging magnate elected in 2005 who was due to leave office in 2010, has said only his restoration to office can solve Honduras' political crisis.

The ousted president, now traveling the Americas to shore up his support, ran afoul of his political base and ruling elites in the conservative country by allying himself with Venezuela's firebrand leftist president, Hugo Chavez.

The lifting of the curfew, which had been in place from 11pm to 4.30am local time, came as a relief for this coffee-exporting Central American country that is the third poorest in the Americas after Haiti and Nicaragua.