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Ousted Honduran President's Foreign Minister calls for Zelaya's Return to Office


Ousted Honduran President's Foreign Minister calls for Zelaya's Return to Office

Ousted Honduran President's Foreign Minister calls for Zelaya's Return to Office

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's foreign minister warns that the standoff between Mr. Zelaya and the de facto authorities in Tegucigalpa is worsening, not improving. Patricia Rodas says the only acceptable outcome is for the clock to be turned back to the day before Mr. Zelaya was deposed on June 28.

Negotiations to resolve the continuing fallout from the military-backed coup that ousted Mr. Zelaya in June are expected to resume on Tuesday. At stake is whether Mr. Zelaya will be allowed to return to power ahead of elections scheduled for November 29.

His foreign minister, Patricia Rodas, told reporters at the United Nations on Monday that returning Mr. Zelaya to office is the only acceptable solution. "And what the people of Honduras demand is a return to the day before the coup d'etat - the previous situation. We do not want another situation because then the other situation would be just as illegal and criminal as the coup itself,"she said.

Mr. Zelaya quietly returned to the Honduran capital on September 21 and has been holed up at the Brazilian embassy ever since.

Rodas accused the de facto authorities of "torturing" Mr. Zelaya - surrounding the embassy with stadium lights and sharp shooters. She said Mr. Zelaya is subjected daily to psychological warfare, and threats of invasion and death.

Mr. Zelaya's opponents say he was trying to illegally change the constitution to extend his term in office. They have rejected his demands to return to power ahead of the next month's election. The international community insists he be returned to office as the legitimate, constitutional president of Honduras.

Rodas laid out her side's demands for a resolution to the crisis. "So any process will have to include an end to human rights violations, an end to the siege on the embassy, the restoration of President Zelaya, return to constitutional order - to rule of law - respect for the constitution and its laws. Only then will the democratic process be legitimate. Any other outcome is illegal," she says.

She also urged the international community to impose targeted sanctions on the coup perpetrators, saying that would weaken them sufficiently for the Honduran people to peacefully topple the government of now-president Roberto Micheletti and return Mr. Zelaya to office.

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