The Honduran Supreme Court has rejected a call from the head of the Organization of American States to return deposed leader Manuel Zelaya to the presidency.
OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza flew Friday to Tegucigalpa for his first trip to the Central American nation since the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya this week. Insulza was barred from meeting with the new government because OAS nations have refused to acknowledge the leadership of interim President Roberto Micheletti.
Instead, Insulza met with Supreme Court justices who authorized the military to seize Mr. Zelaya and strip him of power last Sunday. Soldiers arrested the president in a pre-dawn raid at his home and forced him on a plane to Costa Rica.
After the meeting, Insulza told reporters that the interim government remains intent on holding on to power until new elections in November.
Insulza said the current government in power and all of the other institutions of government have shown no willingness to reverse their course.
A spokesman for the Honduran Supreme Court said justices told Insulza that Mr. Zelaya cannot be restored to power because he is facing a series of criminal charges. Officials have said Mr. Zelaya stands accused of 18 offenses, including treason and abuse of power, and will be arrested if he returns to the country.
Insulza has given Honduran officials until Saturday to return Mr. Zelaya to power, or the regional group will consider suspending the nation's membership. He said the possible suspension could trigger a series of consequences, such as withholding foreign investment.
Insulza said foreign lenders cannot lend to a government that is not recognized by the international community.
Washington and scores of other countries are refusing to accept the new government, saying Mr. Zelaya remains the Honduran president. Earlier this week, the World Bank suspended loans to Honduras, which relies on the money for development and health programs.
Some experts say the best hope to resolve the standoff in Honduras may be a compromise, such as handing interim power to a third person until November elections, or moving up the vote.
Interim President Micheletti has said he is open to considering an early vote, if it will ease tensions between Honduras and its foreign allies.
During a rally Friday in support of the interim government, Marisabel Maldonado said she supports the proposal.
She said the best option may be to hold early elections, even though Hondurans are set to elect a new president in the regularly scheduled vote in November.
Maldonado was among thousands of Hondurans who wore white shirts and waved banners during a rally in front of the presidential palace. Supporters of President Zelaya held a separate march in the capital to demand the return of the ousted leader.