The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding the reinstatement of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. But the country's interim foreign minister has warned that Zelaya will be arrested if he returns.
AFP - Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya took his case before the UN Tuesday, appealing for world support in his bid to be reinstated as he plans a return to his country.
Zelaya addressed the General Assembly shortly after the 192-member body adopted by acclamation a resolution condemning the army-backed coup and demanding "the immediate and unconditional" reinstatement of Zelaya.
The resolution condemned "the coup d'etat that... resulted in the removal of the democratically elected president."
Zelaya, 57, was bundled from his bed early Sunday by Honduran troops and put on a plane to Costa Rica after a tense showdown with the military and courts over his plans to try to run for a second term in November.
The UN resolution demanded "the immediate and unconditional restoration of the legitimate and constitutional government of the president of the republic, Jose Manuel Zelaya, and of the legally established authority in Honduras so that he fulfills the mandate for which he was democratically elected by the Honduran people."
It calls on all states to "recognize no government other than that of the constitutional president, Jose Manuel Zelaya" and expressed support for regional efforts, including by the Organization of American States (OAS), to resolve the political crisis.
Zelaya, elected to a single four-year term in 2005, welcomed the resolution, saying it dovetailed with similar condemnations by the OAS and other regional groups of the "barbarity that a small group of usurpers sought to inflict upon our country."
Zelaya told a meeting of regional leaders in Nicaragua on Monday that he plans to return to Honduras on Thursday.
"I go to Tegucigalpa on Thursday," Zelaya said, setting up a potentially explosive showdown with the newly installed administration of Roberto Micheletti.
Zelaya also accepted the offer of Jose Miguel Insulza, the head of the Organization of American States, to accompany him back to Honduras, along with leaders of other friendly countries who may wish to travel with him.
In his address to the UN assembly, Zelaya defended his stewardship and blamed his ouster on the Honduran elite which believed "I was trying to bring down the system of privileges they uphold."
"I have not been put on trial. I have never been called upon to take the stand to defend myself. No accusation has been brought by any judge," he added.
He outlined steps he has taken since he was elected nearly four years ago to raise the stanards of living for the poor in Honduras.
"There's much injustice in Honduras arising from inequality," Zelaya said.
He described his ouster as "a violation of the law undertaken in the context of a coup d'etat."
US delegate Rosemary DiCarlo said Washington would continue to work through the OAS "to determine how best to support the Honduran people as they seek to peacefully restore their constitutional government.
"We call on the international community to resist any outside interference in this process," she added.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has urged Zelaya to meet with US President Barack Obama, saying the US leader's attention to the matter could "deliver a major blow" to those who ousted Zelaya.
Protests flared in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa on Monday as hundreds of angry Zelaya supporters, defying a government curfew, erected barricades near the presidential palace.
They threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and used pipes and metal bars against shield-bearing riot police. The security forces cracked down with tear gas and gunfire, an AFP photographer said.
The violence, the most serious unrest in years in this Central American country, left several demonstrators and security forces injured. More protests were planned for Tuesday.
Obama said the United States believed Zelaya "remains the president of Honduras" and called for international cooperation to solve the crisis peacefully.
Date created : 2009-06-30