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Honduran leaders inch toward crisis talks.

Summary: <p>Honduran de facto leader Roberto Micheletti and ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Saturday edged toward negotiating an end to a political crisis triggered after a June coup.AaMicheletti met recently with Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza in a step toward talks, and Zelaya supporters signaled they were open to dialogue brokered by an OAS mission visiting Honduras.

TEGUCIGALPA: Honduran de facto leader Roberto Micheletti and ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Saturday edged toward negotiating an end to a political crisis triggered after a June coup.AaMicheletti met recently with Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza in a step toward talks, and Zelaya supporters signaled they were open to dialogue brokered by an OAS mission visiting Honduras.Aa

The deposed leader slipped back into Honduras two weeks ago and has been holed up since then in the Brazilian Embassy with his wife, son and scores of followers as troops and police ring the mission compound.Aa

In a theatrical twist, Zelaya, a logging magnate who often wears a trademark cowboy hat, on Saturday dedicated a poem by 19th-century Guatemalan poet Ismael Cerna to Micheletti from inside his embassy refuge.Aa

"I care not if I do not see the light of day, if in my conscious I have that of the heavens," said Zelaya, reading from Cerna, who was jailed as a political prisoner.Aa

Zelaya's supporters spent Saturday singing and playing guitars and drums fashioned from scraps of wood, washing lines and plastic buckets in the embassy grounds, said a photographer inside the compound.Aa

Troops exiled Zelaya at gunpoint in June after he riled conservatives by cozying up to US foe Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and fueling fears he wanted to lift presidential term limits to stay in power.Aa

Both Honduran leaders say they are ready for talks even though there seems to be no middle ground. Micheletti says Zelaya must face treason charges and is resisting pressure to restore him. Zelaya insists he be reinstated unconditionally to office.Aa

Talks would focus on the San Jose agreement, a document drawn up by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, which calls for Zelaya's restoration, a form of political amnesty and a unity government until the scheduled November 29 elections. -- Reuters

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:0OAS
Date:Oct 5, 2009
Words:394
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