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UN Security Council to meet over crisis

The United Nations Security Council will discuss the political standoff in Honduras on Friday, according to a UN spokesperson, amid reports the feuding parties have held talks in the Central American country.


REUTERS - The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the political crisis in Honduras and the future of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a U.N. official said on Thursday.


Zelaya was overthrown in a coup in June, but on Monday he slipped back into his country and took refuge in Brazil’s embassy, triggering a tense standoff with the de facto government that has promised to arrest him.


De facto President Roberto Micheletti on Thursday said he was open to talks with Zelaya, but his administration rejects international pressure to reinstate the ousted leader as a way to end Central America’s worst political crisis in years.


“I am willing to establish dialogue wherever and whenever to try to find a solution to our situation,” Micheletti told reporters.


Hundreds of soldiers and riot police carrying automatic weapons have surrounded the embassy, where Zelaya is taking shelter with his family and about 40 supporters despite food and water shortages in the building.


Zelaya told reporters on Thursday he had met a representative from Micheletti, but he rejected a proposal to replace the de facto president with another leader.


His return has stoked tensions between his supporters and opponents. One man was shot and killed in a clash between police and Zelaya supporters this week as international pressure mounted to let the leftist return to power.


The United States, European Union and Organization of American States urge dialogue to bring Zelaya back to office.  But the de facto government insists that he must face charges in court and says a November election will resolve the crisis.


This week at the U.N. General Assembly, Brazil asked the council to meet urgently over Honduras. A diplomat said the council was not expected to take any formal action to reinstate Zelaya but would hold talks about the crisis.


Spain’s prime minister said at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that democracy must be restored in Honduras.


“We won’t accept the coup,” Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told world leaders.


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who finds himself involved in a crisis outside Brazil’s traditional sphere of influence in South America, said on Wednesday he requested a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week to discuss Honduras.


The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it will recognize Zelaya’s government as the rightful government of Honduras.


Soldiers toppled Zelaya at gunpoint and sent him into exile in his pajamas after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest, saying he had broken the law by pushing for constitutional reforms that critics say were an attempt to change presidential term limits and extend his rule.


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