Honduras's ousted president calls for UN, US action

Honduras’ ousted president has called on the international community, including the United Nations and the United States, to support him in returning to power in his country after crisis talks broke down.

“The international community must set a precedent so that there is no repeat of this and so that coup d’etats become a thing of the past and those who try it are punished,” Manuel Zelaya was quoted as saying in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo.

El Mundo said it interviewed Zelaya at the Honduras embassy in Managua. The president left Honduras after a military coup, which has installed Robert Micheletti as president.

Governments around the world have called for Zelaya’s return to power and are shunning the new de facto government, but Micheletti said on Monday he would never allow Zelaya’s reinstatement.

Asked whether the situation would end if the US were to intervene diplomatically, Zelaya said: “Immediately. This will be over in the blink of an eye once the United States takes clear steps against those behind the coup.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already warned Micheletti that he could face cuts in economic aid unless he strikes a deal with his enemy.

The ousted leader, an ally of Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chávez, did not state exactly what action he wanted the international community to take although he said countries like Spain could cancel bank accounts, suspend visas and trips to members of the regime.

Failed talks held by Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias to broker an end to the Honduras power struggle had revealed the “arrogant, military and fascist” nature of those who had seized power, Zelaya said.

“Those responsible for the coup have laughed in the face of the Honduran people, of the international community and of Oscar Arias.

“They have even laughed at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

The ousted leader also reiterated his intention to quickly return to the country, despite fears by some that his return could lead to bloodshed.

“Arias has asked us for a few more days, but we are already organising the internal resistance which the Constitution guarantees us in order to prepare my return to the country.”

Another Spanish newspaper, El Pais, published an interview with Zelaya on June 28 just before news of the Honduras coup broke in which he was quoted as saying a coup attempt had been thwarted because the US had refused to support it.—Reuters

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