Zelaya vows to return to Honduras

Ousted president calls on supporters to prepare to greet him at the airport on Sunday.

    Supporters and opponents of Zelaya have held several mass protests in Honduras [AFP]

    "We are going to show up at the Honduras International Airport in Tegucigalpa ... and on Sunday we will be in Tegucigalpa," Zelaya said in a taped statement posted on the websites of the Telesur and Cubadebate media outlets.

    Plea for peace

    In comments later on Saturday to a local radio station, Zelaya said Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and Ecuador's Rafael Correa, several foreign ministers and 300 journalists would accompany him.

    Zelaya implored supporters to remain peaceful.

    "I ask all farmers, residents, Indians, young people and all workers' groups, businessmen and friends ... to accompany me on my return to Honduras," he said earlier.

    "Do not bring weapons. Practice what I have always preached, which is nonviolence. Let them be the ones who use violence, weapons and repression.

    "I hold the coup plotters responsible for the lives of each and every person," he said.

    Members of the OAS are meeting to consider suspending Honduras from the regional bloc for failing to reinstate Zelaya, who was deposed on June 28.

    Deadline set

    The 35-member OAS had set Saturday as the deadline for the military-backed interim government to comply with its demands, or be expelled from the bloc.

    In video

     Honduran economy hurt by political instability
     Pressure on Honduras
    to reinstate Zelaya

     UN General Assembly condemns Honduras coup
     Allies fret over coup
     Turmoil in Honduras

     Pictures: Honduras crisis

    Prior to the meeting, the interim government in Honduras announced it was pulling out of the OAS rather than meet the bloc's demands.

    "It is better to pay this high price ... than live undignified and bow our heads to the demands of foreign governments," Roberto Micheletti, the interim president, said.

    But OAS officials said on Saturday that they would not recognise Honduras' decision to withdraw.

    Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer, reporting from Washington, said OAS leaders called the request to leave the OAS illegitimate, because the bloc does not regard the current Honduran government as legitimate.

    "So what we expect is that the OAS, minus Honduras, will proceed to suspend that country from the organisation," he said.

    "It will likely be a very long and messy procedure."

    Several scenarios

    Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera's Latin America editor, said that several scenarios to solve the crisis had been proposed by OAS member states.

    "One of them is that this de facto government, as the OAS calls it, would issue a blanket amnesty that would annul the arrest order for Zelaya," she reported from Tegucigalpa.

    Zelaya was ousted before holding a non-binding referendum on constitutional change [EPA]
    "In exchange, elections [currently scheduled for January] would be brought forward. But the deposed president would have to be reinstated [pending the election's outcome]. I understand that this proposal was put forward by Argentina."

    Newman said that the current crisis is the "biggest challenge that the OAS has ever had to face".

    "There is absolute consensus in the international community that they have to use their diplomatic might to reverse this coup d'etat. There is consensus that this kind of thing can not happen, and should not happen."

    Zelaya was removed from power as he was about to press ahead with a non-binding referendum on constitutional change.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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