Zelaya, de facto camp to resume talks in Honduras

Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:06pm EDT

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Negotiators for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and de facto rulers in power since a June coup will resume talks on Thursday, after a U.S. delegation arrived to push for a solution to the crisis.

A team led by Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon and Dan Restrepo, the White House’s special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs, flew into Tegucigalpa on Wednesday for a last-ditch effort to broker a resolution to the impasse.

“Due to instructions from President Zelaya, today we are going to sit at the table with them,” Rodil Rivera, a member of Zelaya’s team, told HRN radio on Thursday.

The coffee-producing Central American country has been diplomatically isolated since Zelaya was toppled by soldiers in a dawn coup on June 28 and flown to exile on a military plane.

Attempts at reaching a deal have floundered so far over the issue of whether Zelaya can be returned to power ahead of a presidential election scheduled for November 29.

Zelaya has been holed up at the heavily guarded Brazilian embassy in the capital under heavy surveillance since sneaking back in to the country last month. His camp pulled out of the last round of talks with de facto leader Roberto Micheletti’s team earlier this month.

Vilma Morales, a representative for Micheletti, appointed by Congress after the coup, invited Zelaya’s camp back to the negotiating table on Wednesday, but did not say what new proposals could be discussed.

Micheletti’s de facto government, which is not recognized internationally, lodged legal proceedings against Brazil at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Wednesday for interfering in Honduras’ internal affairs by sheltering Zelaya. It wants the court to order Brazil to stop providing refuge.

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