Coup leader lifts Honduras emergency decree

De facto Honduran leader said he would ask ministers to lift a decree that suspended some civil liberties.

Coup leader lifts Honduras emergency decree

Honduras' de facto leader Roberto Micheletti lifted an emergency decree on Monday that had suspended some civil liberties and shut two media outlets loyal to ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Micheletti had come under international pressure to lift the emergency measures as the Organization of American States tries to negotiate an end to a crisis triggered when Zelaya was toppled in a June coup. Zelaya slipped back into the country two weeks ago and has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy.

Zelaya slipped back into the country two weeks ago and has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa with his wife and scores of followers. Troops and police in riot gear have ringed the mission to curb pro-Zelaya protests.

"I am going to respectfully ask, that just as we took the decision to impose it, that we lift it," Micheletti told local television in an interview when asked about the decree.

Both Honduran leaders say they are ready for talks, but their key demands remain unchanged. Micheletti says Zelaya must face the courts and is resisting pressure to restore him to power, while Zelaya insists he be reinstated unconditionally.

The deposed leader said in a statement on Monday that as part of negotiations the decree should be lifted, shuttered media should be reopened and he should be allowed to freely receive visitors for talks.

"Dialogue ... is only possible and can only be fruitful if there is an atmosphere of transparency, frankness, tolerance and freedom," the statement said.

Washington has pressured Micheletti's supporters by cutting aid and revoking visas but shied away from tougher measures, such as trade sanctions.

Talks this week will likely center on the San Jose agreement drafted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias when he mediated in talks earlier in the crisis. The document calls for Zelaya's restoration, a form of political amnesty and a unity government until the scheduled Nov. 29 elections.

Zelaya's term was scheduled to end in January.

Micheletti has said he could step down if Zelaya does the same and insists elections are the solution to the crisis.

But the United States and other countries say they may not recognize the November vote if there is no prior accord involving Zelaya.

Reuters

Last Mod: 06 Ekim 2009, 00:29
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