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Honduras Pulls Out of OAS


The new government of Honduras says it no longer recognizes the charter of the Organization of American States and is withdrawing its membership from the group.

Honduras made the announcement late Friday, a day before the OAS was due to vote on suspending the Central American country, following its refusal to adhere to demands by OAS to return toppled President Manuel Zelaya to office. The OAS has called an emergency meeting in Washington on Saturday.

The Supreme Court of Honduras told OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza Friday that its decision to oust Mr. Zelaya is irreversible, and that the leftist leader would be arrested if he returned home.

Mr. Zelaya has said he will attempt to return to Honduras on Sunday, and expects to be joined by Insulza, as well as Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and others.

Thousands of Hondurans staged an anti-Zelaya demonstration Friday. Acting President Roberto Micheletti told the crowd he is the "president of all Honduras." Zelaya supporters have also continued to hold protests against the coup.

Coup leaders accuse Mr. Zelaya of treason and abuse of power. Soldiers forcibly expelled Mr. Zelaya 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 ruled the referendum was illegal.

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 Several countries, including Spain, Italy and France, have withdrawn their ambassadors from Honduras.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