SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Hopes for a quick resolution to Honduras’ political crisis faded Saturday when its interim government balked at a proposal for a national unity government headed by President Manuel Zelaya and the exiled leader’s delegation threatened to abandon talks.
Enrique Flores, a negotiator for Zelaya in talks in Costa Rica’s capital, said his side accepted “in principle” a mediator’s proposal to end the standoff over a coup, but added that the interim government of Roberto Micheletti had rejected the first point of negotiations: allowing Zelaya’s return to power.
“We will declare the talks a failure” if there is no progress in the final hours of negotiations Saturday night, Flores told the Associated Press.
The crisis over the June 28 military-backed coup has become a key test for democracy in Latin America and for U.S. diplomacy in the region.
The plan to end the crisis put forward by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, mediator of Saturday’s U.S.-backed talks, would allow Zelaya to return to Honduras to serve out the rest of his term, move forward elections by one month to late October, grant an amnesty for all political crimes committed before and after the June 28 coup, and include representatives of the main political parties in a reconciliation government.
Zelaya would have to cede control of the military to an electoral court a month before elections and renounce plans for a referendum on retooling the constitution.