Military signals softening in Honduras crisis
Exiled President Zelaya has set up camp on the Nicaraguan border to keep up pressure on interim government.
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Soldiers did not approach Zelaya Friday to arrest him.Skip to next paragraph
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In a significant development, the military issued a communique Saturday stating its support for mediation within the framework of the San José accord negotiated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The accord would allow Zelaya to return as president, though with curtailed powers.
The military's statement, which was posted on its website, marked the first time an important institution under Honduras's interim government has publicly signaled anything other than a refusal to reinstate Zelaya.
Zelaya made a first attempt to return home a week after his ouster on June 28, but his attempt to land at the international airport in Tegucigalpa was thwarted after the military blocked the runway. One supporter was killed in skirmishes between authorities guarding the airport and Zelaya supporters.
Zelaya was arrested and sent out of the country after he pushed forward with a vote to consider constitutional change, a move declared illegal by the Supreme Court. His critics feared he was trying to change the Constitution to abolish term limits for presidents, though he has denied that was his intention.
The ouster was condemned across the globe. No foreign government recognizes Honduras's current leadership.
But the interim government has refused to budge on one key issue: allowing Zelaya to be reinstated as president, a point that most countries in the world back as the only way to bring back constitutional order.
Arias has said that he will not attempt another proposal, though many suspect there is behind-the-scenes pressure for both sides to agree to the deal he has presented.
Arias's outline demands Zelaya return to carry out his term, but diminishes his power and moves up presidential elections to October.
If the sides do not agree, Arias suggested the OAS should take the lead role, though the Micheletti government might not accept the terms, since the OAS quickly condemned Zelaya's ouster as a coup and suspended Honduras from the regional body.
It is unclear what role the US, which had backed Arias as the lead mediator, will play now.