US denies Honduras' Micheletti visa
Interim president's visa revoked to pressure government into reinstating Zelaya.
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2009 22:33 GMT
Micheletti said the move would not change his decision to reject the return of Zelaya to power [AFP]

The US has revoked the visa of Honduras' interim president to pressure the Central American country to reinstate Manuel Zelaya, the country's ousted leader, the interim government says.

The interim government expects Washington to revoke the visas of at least 1,000 more public officials "in the coming days," Rene Zepeda, the interim information ministerm, said on Saturday.

"I'm OK because I expected the decision and I accept it with dignity ... and without the least bit of resentment or anger at the United States because it is that country's right," Roberto Micheletti, the interim president, said on Saturday.

The move "changes nothing because I am not willing to take back what has happened in Honduras," he said on Radio station HRN, about his rejection of the return of Zelaya, who was toppled in a June 28 military-backed coup and flown into exile.

No 'Mr President'

However, Micheletti complained that the letter he received from the state department addressed him as president of Congress, his position prior to Zelaya's ouster, and not president of Honduras.

"It doesn't even say 'Mr President of the Republic' or anything," he said.

Micheletti reiterated that "the United States has always been a friend of Honduras and will continue being one forever, in spite of the actions it has taken".

The interim leader said he was expecting the action and called it "a sign of the pressure that the US government is exerting on our country".

Relations cut

Washington on Friday revoked the diplomatic and tourist visas for 14 Supreme Court judges, the foreign relations secretary and Honduras' attorney general, presidential spokeswoman Marcia de Villeda said on Saturday.

Darby Holladay, a US state department spokesman, said on Saturday: "By law we are not allowed to comment on the revocation of visas."

There was no immediate reaction from Zelaya, who is currently in Nicaragua.

Last week, Washington cut off millions of dollars in aid to the Honduran government in response to Micheletti's refusal to accept a mediated accord that called for returning Zelaya to power with limited authority until elections set for November.

The accord was brokered by Oscar Arias, the Costa Rican president, who won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in helping end Central America's civil wars.

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