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Interim Honduran Leader Sets Conditions for His Exit


Interim Honduran President Roberto says he is open to resigning as long as ousted President Manuel Zelaya is not allowed to return to power.

Mr. Micheletti's comment to reporters Wednesday in Tegucigalpa came three days before the start of a new round of mediation talks aimed at resolving the ongoing political standoff between the two rivals.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is mediating the dispute involving the two men and he called on Mr. Zelaya to be patient with the process.

Mr. Zelaya has said the people in his country "have the right to insurrection" in order to force the caretaker government to return him to power, following his ouster June 28.

Mr. Micheletti has said he will only discuss the deposed president's return to Honduras if Mr. Zelaya faces charges of treason and abuse of power in court.

The interim government says it expelled Mr. Zelaya from the country last month because he was trying to illegally change the constitution to extend his power.

Meanwhile, a new public opinion poll indicates that Mr. Zelaya is more popular than his interim replacement.

Results of the Gallup poll, published Wednesday, indicate Mr. Zelaya has a favorable rating of 46 percent, although a nearly equal number of respondents (44 percent), have given him an unfavorable rating.

Respondents gave Mr. Micheletti a 30 percent approval rating. His unfavorable rating stood at 49 percent.

On Monday, Mr. Zelaya issued what he called an "ultimatum" to the interim government, saying it must give him back the presidency within a week. Mr. Zelaya said if he does not resume office by then, he will consider the discussions a failure.

Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti met separately with Mr. Arias last week at the Costa Rican leader's home in San Jose.

The United States and the Organization of American States have called for Mr. Zelaya's reinstatement. The U.S. also has called for all parties in the crisis to give the talks a chance to succeed.

Meanwhile, the White House says efforts are under way with the Costa Rican president to find a diplomatic solution.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs Wednesday said this can and should be done peacefully through diplomatic channels. Gibbs said the United States continues to believe that Mr. Zelaya's removal is not in accordance with democratic principles.


Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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