Honduras crisis talks continue past deadlines



TEGUCIGALPA - Negotiators pressed ahead with talks Friday on ending a political crisis set off by the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, even as a succession of deadlines came and went.
A deadline set by Zelaya for concluding the crisis talks was extended twice but the talks between representatives of the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti and the ousted president continued past the latest one, a source close to the talks told AFP.



Honduras crisis talks continue past deadlines
The issue of Zelaya's return to office remained the main sticking point in the negotiations to end the crisis which has polarized and isolated the impoverished Central American nation.
The two sides sought agreement on whether the Supreme Court or the Congress would decide on Zelaya's reinstatement, until elections are held and a new president takes office in January.
"We're going into the last phase," Vilma Morales, the spokeswoman for Micheletti's negotiators, told journalists Friday afternoon.
"The climate is extremely delicate and dangerous," Zelaya, who has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy since his return last month, told AFP late Thursday.
Negotiators have said they now agree on most points of a deal based on an accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
Those include the creation of a unity government, and requirements that Zelaya drop his plans to rewrite the constitution which sparked the crisis, and that November 29 polls be held on schedule.
After months of protests and crackdowns by security forces, representatives of Zelaya and Micheletti finally sat down together last week to try to hammer out a settlement.
Amid a wave of international condemnation and aid freezes, the United States has called for Zelaya's return to office, suspended some 30 million dollars in financial aid programs and canceled the US visas of top regime officials.
Zelaya antagonized the country's elite by aligning himself with Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez.
The political crisis has compounded economic woes in the nation of some 7.6 million people.
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Saturday, October 17th 2009
AFP
           


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