Zelaya: US-brokered Honduras deal 'dead'
An accord that would allow the Honduran Congress to vote to allow Manuel Zelaya back into the presidency is 'dead,' the ousted president said. US Sen. Jim DeMint has said the US will recognize Nov. 29 presidential elections regardless of whether Zelaya is returned to office, which many nations around the world have demanded.
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"The accord is dead," said ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was arrested and deposed June 28, on the local radio station Radio Globo. "There is no sense in deceiving Hondurans."
Under the terms of the agreement, the Honduran Congress would vote whether to reinstate the country's ousted president, and in turn the US would accept the results of the nation's Nov. 29 presidential election. Honduras was also to announce the creation of a unity government by midnight Thursday, to hold power until a new president takes over in January. Roberto Micheletti, who took over as interim president hours after Mr. Zelaya was arrested, did just that, but without the collaboration of Zelaya. The ousted president has protested the process since the nation's Congress has not moved forward on the reinstatement decision.
Now the legitimacy of the upcoming elections, which are key to resolving the conflict, could be thrown into question. So, too, is the success of the US diplomatic mission in Honduras. And the crisis now puts the US in the uncomfortable position of possibly recognizing a vote that, by and large, the rest of the world has said it will refuse to accept.
"Clearly this issue has not been resolved. There is no real deal," says Christopher Sabatini, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly in New York, who says the US, which had at first lined up on the same side as governments around the region, might find themselves isolated. "They are now, in fact, part of the problem. I think they may have put themselves in a bigger pickle than if they hadn't" taken a diplomatic role, he said.
In many ways, Honduras remains where it was before the much-hailed deal was announced last week.
Shortly before midnight Thursday, Mr. Micheletti said that a new unity government had formed, calling it "representative of a large ideological and political spectrum in our country and complies strictly with the agreement."
Yet Zelaya is still holed up in the Brazilian Embassy, where he sought refuge after sneaking back into the country Sept. 21 amid broken-down talks. He did not hand over names to be considered in the new government, because the Honduran Congress is not moving forward with a key element of the deal: voting on whether Zelaya can return to office. The deal laid out no deadline under which lawmakers needed to act; Zelaya supporters say Congress is stalling to avoid his reinstatement before elections.