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Honduran Coup Leaders Accept OAS Mission

TEGUCIGALPA - The Honduran interim government has agreed to accept a delegation from the Organization of American States seeking to solve the country's political crisis after initially rejecting the mission.

Supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya march to the capital on August 9. The Honduran interim government has agreed to accept a delegation from the Organization of American States seeking to solve the country's political crisis after initially rejecting the mission. (AFP) But the government, which came to power after ousting President Manuel Zelaya in a coup, said the mission would be welcome under the condition that OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza will only participate as an observer.

"The differences that emerged around the make-up of the Organization of American States mission that planned to visit Honduras have been reconciled," the country's de facto government said in a statement late Sunday.

"The secretary general will participate as an observer," it said, adding that the date of the visit would be "determined in the coming two days."

Initially, the delegation, including the foreign ministers of Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, was set to arrive in Tegucigalpa on Tuesday.

But the Honduran foreign ministry said earlier Sunday it would not receive the group because it included Insulza, who it claimed "lacked objectivity, impartiality and professionalism" in his job."

It also said that other unnamed countries it considered more sympathetic were not represented in the delegation.

The Tuesday visit was supposed to coincide with the arrival of thousands of Zelaya supporters from around the country who are to converge on Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the two largest cities in Honduras.

OAS officials announced they were sending the delegation -- aimed at supporting the "re-establishment of democratic order" -- on Friday.

Honduras's membership in the OAS was suspended following the June 28 coup in which soldiers ousted Zelaya from power and put him on a plane to neighboring Nicaragua.

The suspension came after Insulza, a former Chilean foreign minister, issued a report critical of the interim regime.

Zelaya has expressed support for a proposal that would allow him to return to power, offer political amnesty to those involved in the coup, and schedule early presidential elections, which was proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

Honduran interim leader Roberto Micheletti has rejected the Arias plan because it includes Zelaya's return to power.

Washington has so far refused to recognize Micheletti's government, has suspended military aid to Honduras and revoked the diplomatic visas of some of the interim Honduran leaders.

The political crisis in Honduras will be one of the issues to be discussed as the leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada who are meeting in Guadalajara on Monday.

 

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