Friday, 23 October 2009

Zelaya's negotiators declare Honduras talks dead

TEGUCIGALPA 23 October  — Negotiators for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said in a midnight statement that 16 days of dialogue with the de facto government had failed and talks were now dead.

"We consider the dialogue has been exhausted, we cannot continue to give deadlines," said Mayra Mejia, a member of Zelaya's negotiating team.

Zelaya had set a deadline of midnight Thursday for the de facto government led by Roberto Micheletti to accept his return to power, and had vowed to break off negotiations if the regime failed to agree.

The deposed president was ousted in a military coup on June 28, and has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy here since making a surprise return to the country in September.

His ouster prompted concern throughout the region, and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias headed up efforts to seek a peaceful end to the political crisis.

He drew up the so-called San Jose Accord that includes as a central condition the return of Zelaya to office until the end of his term in January.

But Micheletti's government has steadfastly opposed Zelaya's return, extending a crisis that has divided the country, one of the poorest in the region.