Related News

Home » World

Ousted leader steps in

VOWING to return home, ousted President Manuel Zelaya took a few symbolic steps inside Honduras on Friday but backed away from a confrontation with Honduran security forces waiting to arrest him.

In a move described as "reckless" by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the ousted leader in his trademark cowboy hat crossed briefly into Honduras in the small town of Las Manos on the border with Nicaragua.

Pausing to give live telephone interviews and surrounded by a pack of journalists, Zelaya approached the chain dividing the two Central American nations, stepped over the border and held the chain over his head in triumph for a moment.

He then touched a sign that said: "Welcome to Honduras," but with troops and police standing just meters away, he said he did not want to proceed out of "respect for the principles" of the military.

He then crossed back into Nicaragua but an aide said he might return to Las Manos soon to try again to enter Honduras, a coffee exporter and one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

Zelaya was toppled and sent into exile in a June 28 coup after angering critics over his alliance with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce United States critic.

The de facto government that replaced him insists he was removed legally because he was trying to extend presidential term limits, and that he will face charges if he returns.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti said Zelaya was "an irresponsible demagogue who puts the lives of others at risk in pursuit of his own personal agenda," and that Hondurans were disgusted by the "media circus" surrounding Zelaya's attempt to return on Friday.

Washington has condemned the coup and called for Zelaya's reinstatement, but it also advised him not to enter Honduras without a political deal in place. Clinton urged all sides to reach a negotiated, peaceful solution.

"We have consistently urged all parties to avoid any provocative action that could lead to violence. President Zelaya's effort to reach the border is reckless," Clinton said. "It does not contribute to the broader effort to restore democratic and constitutional order in the Honduras crisis."

Zelaya remained determined, vowing to return and saying he had helicopters and planes at his disposal and could return via other neighboring countries if necessary.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend