The Honduran government led by Roberto Micheletti has rejected an immediate accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias on the conditional reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
As the second round of talks got under way here Saturday, Arias presented a seven-point proposal to defuse the Honduran crisis based on the central condition of reinstating Manuel Zelaya to the presidency, in a mediation that is racing against the clock to show some positive results.
Arias suggested that Zelaya, as the constitutional president of Honduras, should return to office and stay in power till Jan. 27, and a general amnesty should be applied to all political crimes committed before and after the coup.
But officials from the interim government told reporters that a "no" will be the answer to the proposal of Zelaya's reinstatement.
Earlier this week, he said that Zelaya "would have to abandon his intention" of having an initiative on constitutional reform incorporated in the Honduran presidential and congressional elections set for Nov 29.
Zelaya, however, said this week that there is nothing to negotiate in the talks and that Arias' plan amounted to a "prize" for those who ousted him. He said he will consider the mediation a failure unless an agreement is reached on returning him to power before midnight Saturday.
Arias received representatives of Mel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, the country's de-facto ruler since a June 28 coup, at his home. The representatives of the two sides had gathered July 9-10, although nothing was agreed upon except to meet again.
Arias said in a statement before the start of the meeting that "the international community has given its unanimous support to this mediation, with the expectation that the Honduran conflict be resolved through diplomatic means and the peaceful path".
"Force is the origin of this problem and will never be the solution," said the man who received the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to negotiate an end to civil wars in Central America.
The Organization of American States, European Union and the United Nations have demanded that Zelaya be reinstated, and no country has recognized the Micheletti government.
Hundreds of partisans of the deposed president - including his wife, Xiomara Castro, and one of his daughters - demonstrated Saturday in Tegucigalpa, shouting "Out with the coup mongers" and "We want Mel". A march by opponents of Zelaya was held in the northeastern city of Tocoa.