Honduras president elect Porfirio Lobo and ousted leader Manuel Zelaya agreed to meet in the coming days in the Dominican Republic to begin a “political dialogue” which will help the country solve the current political crisis, announced Dominican president Leonel Fernández.
“We hope that with decision there won’t be any difficulties for President Zelaya to leave Honduras and no conditions or obstructions established by the de facto government so that he can travel to the Dominican Republic”, pointed out Fernández on Friday.
The Dominican president said he trusts this formula will help “overcome the situation” Honduras has been suffering since the June 28th coup. He added that the “face to face” reunion will be preceded by meetings he will be holding with both leaders: on Sunday with Zelaya and on Monday with Lobo.
Meanwhile the Brazilian Foreign Office denied it had told Zelaya he must leave the embassy in Tegucigalpa, where he remains holed in, by January 27th when his presidential mandate officially ends.
“Foreign Secretary Celos Amorim has always stated Zelaya can remain for as long as necessary” said an Itamaraty spokesperson in Brasilia. The spokesperson said that there had been a “misinterpretation” of the words from the Brazilian embassy Chargé D’affaires in Tegucigalpa, Francisco Catunda, who had been quoted saying Zelaya had to leave by January 27th when president elect Lobo officially takes office.
Catunda was quoted saying that Zelaya was well aware that next January 27th a new government takes office and since his mandate will be finalized “he will have to find a new destination”.
The Itamaraty spokesperson said that although it is “clear” that Zelaya’s mandate is over next January 27th, “that does not mean that he must automatically leave the embassy”.
Brazil’s main television network O’Globo interviewed ousted Zelaya who confirmed he has plans to leave the embassy before that date.
“My position is to leave as soon as possible, obviously with the support from the Brazilian government”, Zelaya told O’Globo.
Zelaya was ousted in a coup last June 28th and since then all Latinamerica countries have demanded his reinstatement as legitimate elected president. However the countries are divided regarding the results of November 29th elections when a new president was elected, according to the political calendar of the country.
United States and several other countries accept the election results which were won by Conservative candidate Porfirio Lobo as a way back to “democratic normalization”, while Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and the rest of the continent argue that elections under a de facto government can only be “illegitimate”.
Meantime Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, OAS, claimed there are those who insist in deepening the situation apparently with the intention of conditioning the government of president elect Lobo.
Earlier this week Zelaya was ready to leave for Mexico which had sent the presidential Boeing to pick him up. But at last minute the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti demanded Zelaya resign as president before leaving the country. Zelaya refused point blank and the Mexican aircraft was banned from landing in Tegucigalpa
“There are still people who don’t want a solution to the problem, they insist on the hard line on to the very end and thus condition the incoming administration of the new president”, said Insulza.
The OAS secretary general also underlined that “no government in the world has recognized or accepted the de facto regime of Micheletti, not even the US. Never before has there been such a unanimous condemnation”.
But he said there are a number of countries willing to recognize the elections and president elect Lobo, which is positive and “a sovereign decision of each country, but no one must sit to talk with Micheletti”.
Zelaya has admitted he has had contacts with Lobo and called on his supporters from the “coup resistance organization” to demobilize and begin campaigning for constitutional reform, which was the issue that triggered the institutional crisis in first place.
Zelaya and president elect Lobo although political rivals have a close personal relation: in 2006 the Liberal party with Zelaya defeated by a slight margin Conservative candidate Porfirio Lobo.