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Zelaya 'aims to leave' Honduras
Ousted president trying to Tegucigalpa to go to Mexico, reports say.
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2009 05:01 GMT

Zelaya has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since September [AFP]

The ousted Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, is aiming to leave the country for exile to Mexico, sources have said.

Zelaya, who was forced to leave the country by the Honduran military in a June coup, has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, since he slipped back into the country in September.

A politician close to Zelaya told Reuters on Wednesday: "He is going to leave the country today. He is leaving of his own will".

But the de facto government said that the plans for Zelaya to leave his refuge in and fly to Mexico had been abandoned for the time being.

 

"It's aborted under current circumstances," Carlos Lopez, Honduras's foreign minister, told Honduran television.

'Paperwork needed'

Milton Mateo, a spokesman for the Honduran foreign ministry, had earlier said that Mexico had asked for a safe-conduct pass for Zelaya, and that the pass had been signed off.

Craig Mauro, an Al Jazeera correspondent who has reported on the politicial events in Honduras, said: "There was a lot of activity around the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa where Zelaya has taken refuge for the last couple of months.

"There were reports that the number of security forces there have been doubled, and that Zelaya would be leaving to take asylum in Mexico," he said from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Since then there have been conflicting reports. Honduran aviation officials say that a plane is on the way from Mexico, and there are some reports from Mexico, quoting un-named sources, that he has been granted asylum.

"Zelaya has just spoken to a Venezuelan television network and he has neither confirmed nor denied that he would be seeking asylum." 

Political crisis

Zelaya had been demanding his reinstatement since the coup but the country's congress voted against restoring him to power and fresh elections held last month saw Porfirio Lobo win the presidency.

Zelaya, left, has sheltered at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since September [AFP]

Zelaya was forced into exile on June 28 after the supreme court, congress and business leaders said he acted against the constitution and tried to illegally extend limits to his term in office.

He has repeatedly denied this and pointed out that it would have been impossible to change the constitution before his term in office was complete.

Divisions in the Central American nation remain wide even after the election, which Zelaya's supporters boycotted, and nations across the Americas are also at odds over whether to recognise the poll.

"The US has said that it recognised the elections but that it was only a step forward, and that it wanted to national reconciliation," Mauro said.

"Several countiries have followed the US's lead there, but there is also a bloc, led by Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, that refuses to recognise the elections and which is demanding that Zelaya be restored to the presidency [to serve out the rest of his term], no matter what."

Lobo, who was defeated by Zelaya in the 2005 election, has pledged to form a unity government and seek dialogue.

He is due to take office on January 27, when Zelaya's term officially ends.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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