Honduran coup leaders open to talk but not on Zelaya
Honduras' coup leaders insisted on Wednesday they were committed to a negotiated end to the crisis, but gave no indication they would back down on their refusal to reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya, Reuters reported.
Zelaya remained in exile in Nicaragua, a month after he was seized by soldiers and flown out of the country.
Congress appointed Roberto Micheletti as president within hours of the coup. His government has argued it was a legal succession, accusing Zelaya of violating the constitution by trying to extend his mandate, a charge Zelaya denies.
The de facto government, backed by the Supreme Court and the military, has resisted pressure to allow Zelaya back, despite condemnation of the coup by Latin American presidents, the United States and the United Nations General Assembly.
Washington stepped up pressure on Micheletti's government on Tuesday by revoking visas for four of its senior members.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said there was still life in a proposal he has drawn up that would restore Zelaya as president, under certain conditions, including the formation of a coalition government and an amnesty on political crimes.
Arias said he had spoken by telephone with Micheletti on Wednesday and Micheletti asked him to send an envoy to see the situation on the ground. Micheletti suggested he send economist Enrique Iglesias, a former president of the Inter-American Development Bank, but Arias did not say if he would do so.
Rene Zepeda, spokesman for the de facto government, said Micheletti had asked Arias to send a delegation to Honduras "to collaborate on the start of dialogue in our country."
Such a dialogue should include all elements of Honduran society, a statement read out by Zepeda said, but it made no mention of allowing Zelaya back to participate.
Micheletti's government insists Zelaya faces charges and will be arrested if he sets foot in Honduras,
A source in the government said it was very unlikely there would be a change of view on allowing Zelaya's return.
The de facto government has repeatedly indicated it is open to several elements of the Arias plan, including a coalition government and possibly bringing forward the elections, as well as granting an amnesty to Zelaya.
Micheletti has also said he is prepared to stand down as president if Zelaya also agrees to stand down.
So far talks mediated by Arias in Costa Rica have failed to narrow the differences on Zelaya's return as president.
Micheletti has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of reinstating Zelaya, and said he would abide by its ruling which could be announced in the coming days.
But since the Supreme Court ordered Zelaya's arrest on the grounds that he had violated the constitution, it would be a surprise if it ruled in favor of his return.