Joint cabinet talks hinge on Zelaya role

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti have reportedly agreed to create a joint cabinet composed of ministers from both factions, though Zelaya's return to power remains a sticking point in talks.


Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto government agreed Saturday to create a joint cabinet and to ditch any amnesty for coup leaders, one of the ousted leader's negotiators said.

Both the measures however depend on Zelaya's return to the presidency, still far from certain four months into the standoff following the June 28 coup.

Juan Barahona, one of Zelaya's three top negotiators, told a rally of hundreds of the president's followers that the joint cabinet, if realized, would be composed of ministers from both governments.

He also said the Zelaya camp was against an amnesty because such a move would mean "amnesia, forgetfulness and forgiveness, and we got cannot condone the coup."

An amnesty for crimes committed in connection to the coup and formation of a national unity government were two key points of the San Jose reconciliation agenda set out in August, whose central tenent calls for Zelaya's return to office.

The discussions Saturday came ahead of a three-day pause that prolongs uncertainty on resolving the political crisis that has paralyzed the country since late June.

The resumption of talks on Tuesday will come just two days before the October 15 deadline given by the Zelaya camp for his unconditional restitution.

"Tuesday will be decisive, and we expect an announcement on Wednesday," a diplomatic source close to the discussions, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

"I do not understand the three-day break," Xiomara Castro, Zelaya's wife, admitted to AFP from within the Brazilian embassy where the deposed leader has been holed up since his surprise return to the capital on September 21.

"When there's persecution, repression, the minutes and hours count. (The pause) is a way to delay the process, with time passing and the president still not returning to power," she said.

A diplomatic delegation from the Organization of American States left Honduras Thursday without resolving a months-old political impasse between de facto leader Roberto Micheletti and Zelaya, whose overthrow in the June 28 coup has paralyzed the Central American country.


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