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Honduras Crisis Talks Postponed


The interim government of Honduras said mediation talks set for Wednesday have been postponed to await a new proposal for resolving the three-week-old political crisis.

The foreign minister of the caretaker government, Carlos Lopez, said the proposal was being prepared by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. President Arias is leading the U.S.-backed mediation effort between the ousted and interim governments of Honduras.

Lopez told reporters his side remains open to talks, though it is unclear when they will resume.

Negotiators for toppled President Manuel Zelaya and interim chief Roberto Micheletti have not met since talks collapsed Sunday.

The interim government has come under intense international pressure to accept a deal that would allow Mr. Zelaya to return to power. The deposed president was forced out in a coup on June 28 and is now in exile in Nicaragua.

The caretaker government claims Mr. Zelaya tried illegally to change the constitution to extend his term and has threatened to arrest him if he returns home.

But no country has formally recognized the interim government, and many have been demanding that Mr. Zelaya be reinstated.

The European Union has already frozen more than $90 million in economic aid to Honduras and the U.S. is threatening to do the same.

Mr. Zelaya said Tuesday that he sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to impose targeted sanctions against the individuals who ordered and carried out the coup.

But even in the face of sanctions, the interim government has remained defiant. On Tuesday, it ordered Venezuela's diplomats out of the country within 72 hours. It accused Venezuela, which supports Mr. Zelaya, of meddling in Honduran affairs and threatening to use force against Honduras.

Caracas has rejected the demand to withdraw its diplomats, saying it was issued by an illegitimate government.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a strong ally of Mr. Zelaya.

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

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