Honduras: Discussions In Costa Rica Between Zelaya And Micheletti
[UPDATE -- July 20, 2009] Today, European Union announced a cut in aid to Honduras of up to $90 million over the failure of the Interim Government to find a solution to the current political stalemate.
The EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement: "In view of the circumstances, I have taken the difficult decision to suspend all budgetary support payments.
On Saturday, delegates representing the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto President Roberto Micheletti, have met on neutral territory in the capital of Costa Rica to discuss the political crisis that has unsettled Honduras in recent weeks. The result of the long negotiations on Saturday was a seven-point proposal made by the designated mediator Costa Rican President Oscar Arias that would see president Zelaya return to power. Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras on July 5, but his plane has been turned away by Honduran military blocking the landing lane. Representatives from Micheletti’s side gave no consent on Saturday, saying more time is needed for them to study the proposal.
The proposal involves:
1. Return of Zelaya to power until his presidential term expires in January of 2010
2. Moving up elections scheduled for late November to October 25 (shortening the wait-time by one month)
3. Establishing a national unity government (which would imply Zelaya and Micheletti working together upon Zelaya's return)
4. Providing amnesty for all political crimes (which would not allow for Zelaya's arrest upon his return)
5. Zelaya handing out the power to the Supreme Court of Elections a month ahead of the election, so as to guarantee the election voting procedure's impartiality
6. Setting up an international commission to oversee implementation of the accord
7. Zelaya renouncing all referendum attempts, so the Constitution stands unaltered
On Sunday, Zelaya released a statement saying he will not accept the unity government requirement of the proposal, which would require him to work side by side with Micheletti. Originally, Zelaya has agreed to a power-sharing "government of reconciliation." But, he went on to deny the allegations of his approval for unity government later.
Micheletti, on the other hand, rejected the proposals put forward by Oscar Arias on Saturday. Micheletti threatened to arrest Zelaya should the later decide to return to Honduras and said "no" to a possibility of Zelaya's reinstatement. Moreover, the Interim Government has issued a statement Sunday, claiming Zelaya will face penal trial for violation of Constitution. Zelaya vowed to return to Honduras despite the arrest warrant.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is the chief mediator and negotiator between the two sides involved in the political dispute. He said dialogue took place between the two sides on Saturday. Arias believes Zelaya’s return to power is an important first step that must be taken to reach a resolution.
Arias expressed his hope that this could be the first coup d' etat in history that ends up in peace.
Previous talks took place last weekend in Costa Rica, but lead to no agreements beings made. Meanwhile, demonstrations have broken out between the supporters of Zelaya and Micheletti in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.
President Zelaya was ousted from the country on June 28, 2009, in a military-lead coup d'etat.