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Ousted Honduran President Travels to Panama


Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya traveled Wednesday to Panama, after he delayed plans to return to his own country, where he faces the threat of arrest.

Mr. Zelaya is to attend the inauguration of incoming Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

The Organization of American States early Wednesday threatened to suspend Honduras from the regional grouping if the coup leaders do not restore Mr. Zelaya to power within three days.

Mr. Zelaya was planning to return to Honduras Thursday, but postponed the trip to coincide with the OAS deadline.

Authorities in the interim Honduran government, led by Roberto Micheletti, have vowed to arrest Mr. Zelaya.

Soldiers forcibly expelled Mr. Zelaya from Honduras Sunday, the day he had planned to hold a referendum on reforming the country's constitution. Critics said he wanted to alter the constitution so he could run for another term - a charge he denies.

Mr. Zelaya says when he returns to Honduras, he will be accompanied by the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador, as well as the heads of the OAS and the U.N. General Assembly.

The interim government's attorney general, Luis Alberto Rubi, says Mr. Zelaya is accused of 18 offenses, including treason and abuse of power. Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez told CNN en Espanol that he would also be charged with drug trafficking.

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Zelaya called his ouster undemocratic and illegal. He said he intends to finish his term, which ends next January.

There have been protests this week in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa both for and against the coup. The city is under a night-time curfew.

The United States has joined other countries and the United Nations in condemning the coup, and calling for the Honduran president to be restored to power.

Spain announced it is withdrawing its ambassador from the Central American country in protest, adding to a list of countries that have recalled their envoys. Also, the United States announced it is suspending joint military activities with Honduras.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti, appointed to the post by parliament, says the only way Mr. Zelaya will return to power is by force.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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