Zelaya calls for more protests after crisis deal collapses

November 9, 2009 - 0:0

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) -- Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ousted in a military-backed coup four months ago, called for fresh protests Friday after the collapse of a U.S.-brokered deal to end the crisis.

Zelaya said last week's deal was no longer valid after de facto leader Roberto Micheletti formed a new “national unity” government without his participation.
“Now I have no commitment to dialogue,” Zelaya said Friday on Globo radio, calling his supporters onto the streets.
“Our struggle is peaceful. The accord failed due to the non-fulfillment of Micheletti,” Zelaya said as hundreds of protesters marched toward the Brazilian embassy where he has been holed up since September 21.
The latest setback dealt a major blow to foreign and U.S. diplomats, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had hailed last week's agreement as a triumph for democracy.
“We urge both sides to act in the best interests of the Honduran people and return to the table immediately to reach agreement on the formation of a unity government,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington.
“We're disappointed that both sides are not following the very clear path laid out” in Costa Rican accords aimed at resolving the crisis, Kelly added.
The accord had given Zelaya and Micheletti's camps until midnight Thursday to set up a reconciliation government to represent both sides.
Although it did not require that Zelaya be reinstated, the pact said that decision should be left to Congress, without setting a deadline for the vote which has not yet taken place.
Shortly before midnight, Micheletti announced a unity government without including Zelaya ministers.
The ousted leader had refused to present nominees for the posts unless he was first reinstated to “reverse the coup” of June 28.
The head of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, called Friday for Congress to make the decision on Zelaya's return and for the agreement to be met “without subterfuge.”
Elections for a new president due November 29 were once again in jeopardy Friday, with Zelaya supporters threatening a boycott.
Zelaya reiterated that he would not back the polls.
“I'm not ready to legitimize a fraud... nor to whitewash this coup,” Zelaya said.
Foreign observers have said they will not take part until political stability is restored.
The European Union, the United States and multilateral agencies cut off vital foreign aid to protest the coup, and were supposed to restore it if the pact was fulfilled.
Opposition presidential candidate Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo is leading in opinion polls to take over as president on January 27.