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Arias offers final plan for Honduras

Thu., July 23, 2009

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A new proposal by a mediator for ending Honduras’ political crisis would return President Manuel Zelaya to power in two days and offer amnesty for the coup leaders that ousted him.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias presented the 11-point plan Wednesday, saying it was the last proposal he would submit as the chief mediator in the conflict. He said Zelaya and the interim government that took power in the coup should turn to the Organization of American States for a new mediator if they refuse to sign the plan.

Arias warned both sides that time was running out for a peaceful solution to the crisis and urged them to set an example by becoming the first country in modern history to reverse a coup through a negotiated agreement.

“The clock is ticking fast, and it’s ticking against the Honduran people,” Arias said in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. “I warn you that this plan is not perfect. Nothing in democracy is perfect.”

Arias said he hoped the two sides would sign the pact today, but acknowledged that he had not persuaded the interim government to allow Zelaya’s return to the presidency.

Although it included some new ideas, the main points of the plan did not differ from an earlier proposal that interim President Roberto Micheletti rejected.

Mauricio Villeda, of the Micheletti delegation, said he would take Arias’ proposals back to Honduras to present to the president, congress and the supreme court for consideration.

However, Micheletti’s foreign minister, Carlos Lopez, repeated the government’s position that the executive branch could not overturn a supreme court ruling forbidding Zelaya’s return to the presidency.


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