Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Brazil urges action on Honduras at UN

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says the international community demands the reinstatement of ousted Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya.

Addressing the United Nations, Mr Lula used the situation in Honduras as an example of where greater global political will was needed.

"Without political will, we will see more coups such as the one that toppled Manuel Zelaya in Honduras," he said.

Mr Zelaya has been holed up in Brazil's embassy in Honduras since Monday.

He had been in overseas exile since July, when he was forced from the country at gunpoint, but made a surprise return to Honduras two days ago.

Brazil has warned Honduran security forces not to enter the embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and is seeking an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to address the crisis.

"The international community demands that Mr Zelaya immediately return to the presidency of his country and must be alert to ensure the inviolability of Brazil's diplomatic mission in the capital of Honduras," Mr Lula told the UN General Assembly in New York.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also called for international action, telling reporters: "The United Nations should demand that Zelaya be reinstated to government again," Reuters news agency reported.

In Honduras, troops have surrounded the embassy. Electricity, water and telephone services were cut off for a time on Tuesday before being partially restored.

The interim leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, says he is willing to talk to Mr Zelaya.

But Mr Micheletti said Mr Zelaya must first accept that planned presidential elections would be held in November.

Mr Micheletti has urged Brazilian officials to either grant Mr Zelaya political asylum or hand him over to Honduran authorities.

A curfew in the capital, in force since Monday afternoon, has been extended until 1800 local time on Wednesday evening (2400GMT Thursday).

Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said he would go to Honduras when the airports re-open and "if there is a meaningful contribution that we can make".

The political crisis erupted after Mr Zelaya tried to hold a non-binding public consultation to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution.

His opponents said the move was unconstitutional and was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, so paving the way for Mr Zelaya's possible re-election.

Mr Zelaya has denied this and said he always intended to hand over to his elected successor in January.

Story from BBC NEWS: