WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has agreed to meet with ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, as U.S. and other diplomats intensify their efforts to solve a crisis that has turned into a showdown with coup leaders and threatens to produce more bloodshed.
The meeting could take place as early as today, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Zelaya told reporters he was flying to Washington Monday night from Central America.
The talks took on additional urgency after two Zelaya supporters were killed Sunday during a boisterous demonstration at the airport in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, where the de facto government denied permission for Zelaya’s plane to land. The plane circled the airport twice, then flew on to Nicaragua.
The Clinton meeting would mark the highest-level contact between Zelaya and the Obama administration since the June 28 coup, when the military detained the leftist leader and expelled him from the country. The Obama administration has condemned the coup. But until now, Clinton has worked behind the scenes, consulting with foreign ministers from Mexico and other countries as the U.S. government publicly coordinated its efforts through the Organization of American States.