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The de facto Honduran government has agreed to a deal that may allow
ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to power ahead of elections
next month. U.S. diplomats have been in
the country to mediate an end to the four-month-old crisis.
facto President Roberto Micheletti unveiled the plan late Thursday,
nearly four months after he took over for ousted President Manuel
Zelaya. Since then, Mr. Micheletti has rejected calls from Mr. Zelaya
and many foreign governments to restore the ousted leader to power,
saying the Supreme Court had stripped Mr. Zelaya of power for violating
the Honduran constitution.
Now after several weeks of
negotiations, Mr. Micheletti said his government was making a
significant concession to open the door to Mr. Zelaya's return.
said the government has been clear that the Supreme Court must decide
whether to allow Mr. Zelaya to return to power. He added officials
understand that Hondurans want peace and an end to the crisis.
the deal, the Supreme Court must authorize the Congress to vote on
whether to allow Mr. Zelaya to return to power and serve the remaining
three months of his term. It also calls for a commission to investigate
the events surrounding Mr. Zelaya's removal from office.
Zelaya, who has been staying in the Brazilian embassy for the past
month, told reporters the deal was a triumph for Honduran democracy.
agreement capped weeks of negotiations led by the Organization of
American States and U.S. officials. The OAS, along with the United
States and other governments, had warned they would not recognize the
outcome of November elections unless a deal was reached.
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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Tom Shannon led American diplomats in the final talks.
"This is a great victory for Honduran democracy and a great victory for the Honduran people," he said.
Tegucigalpa, supporters of the ousted president took to the streets to
celebrate the announcement late Thursday. Some saw the deal as an end
to what they call a coup government, which they blame for imposing
curfews and civil rights restrictions.
In Miami, supporters of
Mr. Micheletti's government said they were pleased that Honduran
institutions and not foreign governments would make the final decision
on Mr. Zelaya's fate. Karen Bush runs a construction firm in her native
"What this does is give us another alternative,
letting the actual people, the institutions decide what to do," she
said. "I think putting it through Congress is the best way of doing it."
says it remains very unlikely that Congress will endorse Mr. Zelaya's
return, noting that lawmakers agreed in June to strip him of power. In
the end, she says a new president will be chosen next month, and the
accord helps ensure the international community will accept the
U.S. officials have suspended millions of dollars in
aid to Honduras in response to the political crisis. After announcing
the deal, de facto president Micheletti called on the United States and
other foreign nations to reverse the economic penalties.