Deal Could Lead to Reinstatement of Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya

Agreement to create power-sharing government paves way for return of leader ousted in military coup

The interim government of Honduras
yesterday appeared to have succumbed to international pressure as it
agreed a deal that could pave the way for the return of the country's
deposed president, Manuel Zelaya.

Victor Rico, the secretary of
political affairs at the Organisation of American States, said an
agreement had been reached to leave an opening for the reinstatement of
Zelaya - ousted in a military coup in June - by creating a
power-sharing government.

He did not reveal the text of the agreement, but called it "a beneficial accord for Honduras and Honduran democracy".

Zelaya yesterday said he was "optimistic I will be restored to the presidency".

interim president, Roberto Micheletti, said the accord would leave
Zelaya's fate in the hands of the supreme court and congress.

envoys had accused Micheletti of dragging out talks to run down the
clock to 29 November, when elections to choose a new president are due
to take place.

Soldiers arrested the leftwing leader,
who was in his pyjamas, in June, taking him to Costa Rica on a plane.
The president had angered congress, the supreme court and his own party
by allying with the Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez.

returned to Honduras last month and has tried to muster support for his
reinstatement from a refuge at the Brazilian embassy, which is
surrounded by troops.

Zelaya has been backed almost unanimously
by the international community, which has also criticised the de facto
Honduran authorities for crackdowns on protesters and the media.

week's breakthrough followed renewed pressure from senior US officials,
who travelled to Honduras in an attempt to end the crisis.

is a great moment for Honduras, and its people should be proud that
Hondurans have achieved this accord," Tom Shannon, the US assistant
secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, said.

called the pact a "significant concession" on his part and said one of
its provisions required foreign powers to drop sanctions, reverse aid
cutoffs imposed after the coup, and send observers to the elections.

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