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Honduras mediation talks end without agreement

world Updated: Jul 20, 2009 07:44 IST
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Talks between the representatives of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and representatives of the post-coup regime ended without any agreement.

Carlos Lopez, who led the delegation from the post-coup regime of Roberto Micheletti, told media in Costa Rican capital San Jose that it could only accept the return of Manuel Zelaya, the president who was kidnapped from the presidential residence June 28 and forced to leave Honduras, providing he agrees to submit to charges including treason.

Rixi Moncada, who led the team that represented Zelaya, said the delegation could not accept anything short of Zelaya's restoration, which was in line with the resolutions adopted by the Organisation of American States and the United Nations.

Lopez had earlier described any call for the restoration of Zelaya as "interfering" in Honduras' internal affairs.

On Saturday, Arias presented a compromise plan under which Zelaya would return to office in a unity government. Other elements of the plan include an amnesty for all crimes committed before and after the coup and the moving up of presidential elections scheduled for November to October.

"I am sorry but your proposal is not acceptable," Lopez told a press conference, where Arias was present. "We made a counter proposal ... under which the constitutional president, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to step down in exchange for Zelaya returning to face trial for his crimes," said Lopez, who is also Foreign Minister for Micheletti.

Lopez also insisted that the events of June 28 did not constitute a coup, saying that the Supreme Court had ordered Zelaya's arrest for violating the constitution, which Lopez called "a crime in any civilized nation".

Moncada responded that Zelaya's officials had been exiled against their will, but remained open to talking via Arias, who she said enjoyed the recognition of the United Nations, the international community and the Organization of American States.

"The dialogue with this regime that was the product of a military coup is over due to intransigence," she said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Arias asked both sides to return within three days in a bid to avoid civil conflict in Honduras.

"Many of Honduras' people have arms. What happens if one of them shoots a soldier or soldier should shoot armed citizen?" Arias asked, adding that civil war was one of the possibilities.