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OAS to Vote on Suspending Honduras


The Organization of American States is meeting Saturday to vote on suspending Honduras, which has refused its calls to re-instate toppled President Manuel Zelaya.

In an apparent show of defiance, the country's new government announced late Friday that it no longer recognizes the OAS charter and is withdrawing from the group.

OAS officials have dismissed the move, saying the interim government is not recognized and therefore, cannot execute such a decision.

After meeting with authorities in Honduras Friday, OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza said they are not willing to restore Mr. Zelaya. The Honduran Supreme Court told Insulza the leftist leader will be arrested if he returns.

Mr. Zelaya says he will attempt to go back to Honduras on Sunday.

He is expected to be joined by the OAS chief, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and others.

On Saturday, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Honduran capital (Tegucigalpa) urged Mr. Zelaya not to return. In an appeal broadcast on radio and television, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez said a Zelaya return to the country at this time could unleash "a bloodbath."

Thousands of Mr. Zelaya's supporters rallied in the capital Saturday, near the presidential palace.

On Friday, anti-Zelaya demonstrators took part in a rally featuring acting President Roberto Micheletti, who said he is the "president of all Honduras."

Coup leaders accuse Mr. Zelaya of treason and abuse of power. Soldiers forcibly expelled him from Honduras June 28, the day he planned to hold a referendum on a constitutional change that would allow him to seek another term. The Supreme Court had ruled the referendum was illegal.

The international community has widely condemned the coup. Several countries, including Spain, Italy and France, have withdrawn their ambassadors from Honduras.

The World Bank also has announced it is suspending loans to Honduras. The U.S. State Department is considering freezing aid to the Central American country.


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


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