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Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya: Talks Are Off with Coup Government After Deal Collapses

StoryNovember 09, 2009
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Manuel Zelaya

ousted president of Honduras

An American-mediated accord to end the four-month political crisis in the country appears to be in shambles just a week after it was signed. On Friday, ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who remains in the Brazilian embassy, declared the deal was over. Meanwhile, coup president Roberto Micheletti said he would install a national unity government without the participation of Zelaya. We speak to President Zelaya from the Brazilian embassy. [includes rush transcript]

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Honduras, where an American-mediated accord to end the four-month political crisis in the country appears to be in shambles just a week after it was signed. On Friday, the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, who remains in the Brazilian embassy, declared the deal over. Meanwhile, the coup leader, Roberto Micheletti, said he would install a national unity government without the participation of Zelaya.

    ROBERTO MICHELETTI: [translated] I reiterate my deepest appreciation to the United States and the members of the Organization of American States for their support and follow-up in the objectives of our Tegucigalpa-San Jose accord, through which we made important strides in the strengthening of our democracy. Despite the fact that Mr. Zelaya did not send lists of names of representatives to the verification commission, we maintain our goodwill and openness, for those Hondurans can also participate in the national unity government.

AMY GOODMAN: At a US State Department press briefing Friday afternoon, State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said the United States is, quote, "disappointed by the unilateral statements" made by both sides and urged a return to the process laid out in the accord and the formation of a unity government. However, Kelly refused to directly answer reporters’ questions about whether the US would recognize the elections without ousted President Zelaya’s participation.

    IAN KELLY: The bottom line is that we have a Honduran process in place, where the two sides have sat down. They’ve signed on to the agreement. The agreement is specific in terms of the next steps to be taken. If the two sides can agree on a way forward — and the best way forward is this agreement; I mean, it’s very specific — then we support it. But what happens between now and November 29, you know, I don’t know. But we’re supporting this Honduran process.

    REPORTER: Even though it is not being implemented? You’re continuing to support it, even though you’re disappointed in what it is?

    IAN KELLY: We’re disappointed that this —

    REPORTER: But you’re still going to support the process.

    IAN KELLY: We’re supporting the process.

    REPORTER: Well, then, I don’t understand. Then what you just said, as the bottom line, means nothing.

    IAN KELLY: It means that — it means that they need to sit down and start talking again. They — it means that they have to stop saying — maybe they need to stop making dire statements like the agreement is dead.

    REPORTER: There must be someone in this building who can give a straight answer to this question.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for the latest news, we now go to the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. We are joined by the ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who has been holed up there for weeks.

President Zelaya, is the deal dead?

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] The accord has twelve points, and we had an agreement with Secretary Hillary Clinton, as well as President Obama, to move forward on that unified accord. In this sense, it is not as — it was explained by Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon and that it, the accord, goes step by step. It is an accord that needs to be seen in its entirety. We did not sign twelve accords; we signed one accord, and the main point of that is the restitution of the president of Honduras. If this reinstatement does not happen, then the accord fails.

The accord had a deadline of November the 5th for the installation of the government of reconciliation and unity. Mr. Micheletti proceeded to go ahead with the accord, installing that new government without me. And when he did this, we then declared that the accord is completely null and void. It is a dead letter.

AMY GOODMAN: President Micheletti, the coup leader, says he will form a national unity government without you. Your response, President Zelaya?

ANDRÉS CONTERIS: The last part of the question, Amy, please?

AMY GOODMAN: What is your response to Micheletti saying he will form a national unity government without you, President Zelaya?

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] He can form as many governments as he wants, since that is exactly what he did on the 28th of June by force and by violence. Those governments who do that are completely illegal, and that is the basis of the coup d’état.

AMY GOODMAN: President Zelaya, what do you feel the US government, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, should do now?

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] According to recent statements from the US government, I believe that President Obama has been weakened as a result of this process in the accord. And this government is basically very, very weakened in facing this coup d’état regime, and they are weak-kneed. The government of President Obama has been weakened in the face of the dictatorship itself here in Honduras. The people of Honduras have not been weakened, and nor have I, but the government of the United States, yes, has been weakened.

AMY GOODMAN: We have ten seconds. What would bring you, your side, back to the negotiating table?

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] After four months, I cannot go back to negotiation with the coup regime at all.

AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds. Translate?

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] This is now in the hands of the OAS, and they can file the charter of the OAS, or they can make it come alive.

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