Lobo won controversial elections in November held under the interim government led by Roberto Micheletti.

"Zelaya, his relatives and members of his circle of advisers can leave for the Dominican Republic on January 27... as guests of that sister nation," Lobo said in a statement on Wednesday.

'Goodwill gesture'

Zelaya appeared to accept the move, calling it a 'goodwill gesture' [AFP]
Zelaya, who insists he remains the legitimate president, told the Globo radio network that the document "is a goodwill gesture by Porfirio Lobo" who is "distancing himself from the dictatorship" of Micheletti.

Rafael Nunez, a spokesman for Lobo, said the president-elect was confident that Honduras' political crisis would ease after his inauguration.

"We must all forgive. We strongly defend an amnesty for all, regardless of ideological differences we may have," Nunez quoted Lobo as saying. "It is in the interest of the Honduran people."

Dominican officials citing Leonel Fernandez, their president, said he was hopeful that Honduras would return to "peace, and to the civilised co-existence that is the basis of their progress, prosperity and the well-being of the population".