HONDURAS

Zelaya confirms his return to Honduras on Sunday

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya confirmed on Saturday that he would return to his country on Sunday, despite warnings from the nation's archbishop, cardinal Oscar Rodriguez, to stay away to avoid a "bloodbath."

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AFP - Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya confirmed to a television news station here that he would return to his country on Sunday, and do so with "several presidents" of allied countries.

"I am planning my return to Honduras... we will arrive at the international airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with several presidents, (and) members of international organizations," Zelaya told Caracas-based station Telesur.

"This Sunday we will be in Tegucigalpa," he confirmed.

Zelaya, who was ousted last Sunday by his country's military, asked his followers to join him "without arms" on his arrival in the Honduran capital.

He also demanded the stepdown of the current government that took his place, describing the new administration of interim leader Roberto Micheletti as a "criminal cult."

Thousands of Zelaya's supporters and opponents have demonstrated daily since the president was flown to Costa Rica, and sporadic clashes have broken out between the army and protesters.

An unidentified number of people have been injured and detained.

The archbishop of the Honduran capital read out a message from the Honduras Bishop's Conference on Saturday calling for Zelaya to stay away.

"The day of your swearing in, you clearly quoted the three commandments of the law of God: to not lie, to not steal, to not kill. We think that a return to the country at the moment could provoke a bloodbath," cardinal Oscar Rodriguez said.

"To this day no Honduran has died. Please think, because afterwards it will be too late," he added.

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa admitted Saturday that Zelaya's return to Honduras involved "risks," but insisted he would be willing to accompany the ousted president.
   

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