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Ousted Honduras Leader in Washington Tuesday


A senior U.S. State Department official says ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will meet in Washington Tuesday with members of the Organization of American States.

The official said Monday that Mr. Zelaya will meet with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and permanent representatives, and hold talks later in the week with U.S. officials, to discuss the political crisis stemming from his removal.

Mr. Zelaya's trip to Washington follows recent contacts between the State Department and a visiting delegation representing the interim Honduran government.

The State Department official said the delegation is waiting to find out whether the interim government will change its hardline stance against a Costa Rica-brokered plan that would allow Mr. Zelaya to return to Honduras and complete his term.

The interim government of President Roberto Micheletti recently proposed handing power to a third party, Supreme Court President Jorge Rivera Aviles.

Last week, an OAS delegation spent two days in Honduras but failed to persuade the caretaker government to accept the plan that would bring back Mr. Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 coup. Foreign ministers from seven OAS nations traveled to Honduras, accompanied by Insulza.

Mr. Micheletti's interim government says Mr. Zelaya was deposed because he was trying to change the constitution illegally to extend his term in office.

The State Department says the Obama administration still intends to make a formal determination that Mr. Zelaya's overthrow was a coup. Such action means that a suspension of most U.S. aid to the Central American country would become permanent. The determination was to have been made last week.

The official said talks with the two sides in the dispute is a factor in the delay. The official said this is an inter-agency decision "that everybody has to be comfortable with."

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