Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras Might Leave for the Dominican Republic

January 21, 2010

Manuel Zelaya 'might leave Honduras for Dominican Republic'

Manuel Zelaya has been living in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa since his deposal as President

Manuel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran president, said today that he might leave the country after the Dominican Republic offered him a haven as an “honoured guest”.

Mr Zelaya, who has been living in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa since he slipped back to Honduras in September after being deposed three months earlier, said that he welcomed the offer from Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández, who had signed an agreement with Honduran President-elect Porfirio Lobo to let him in to the country.

“This agreement allows me to maintain my dignity and the position bestowed on me by the people of Honduras,” Mr Zelaya said in a statement.

The accord, signed in Santo Domingo today by Mr Lobo, Mr Fern├índez and representatives of Honduras’s major political parties, stipulates that the former President, his family members and his circle of advisers can enter the Dominican Republic on January 27 when Mr Lobo takes office after winning the November 29 election.

If he takes up the offer it will bring an end to his state of political limbo after he was escorted out of the country at gunpoint in June. He has always denied his critics’ accusations that he was attempting to stay in office past his legal term but if he stepped foot outside the Brazilian embassy he would be liable for arrest.

Negotiations over Mr Zelaya’s future have intensified as January 27 draws closer. His demand that he be returned to power was weakened after Mr Lob’s election win was recognised by a number of countries, including the United States.

Last November Mr Zelaya refused an offer of safe passage by Mexico after Robert Micheletti, the interim President, imposed the condition that he be granted political asylum, which Mr Zelaya said would invalidate his claim to the presidency.

If he leaves for the Dominican Republic when his term officially ends he will have put an end to his political career in Honduras.

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