On Honduras Brazil and US Want Micheletti to Resign and Zelaya to Be Free to Go

Zelaya and Micheletti Brazil and the United States seem to agree that ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya must have safe passage to leave Honduras and want the country's de facto president to step down to pave the way for national reconciliation, a senior Brazilian official said on Monday.

"We believe that de facto President Micheletti should leave, it's the first important step," said Marco Aurélio Garcia, President Lula's foreign policy advisor.

"It's also fundamental that a safe passage be given to ousted President Zelaya," Garcia said after meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela.

Both sides played down differences on Honduras. Unlike Washington, Brazil did not recognize the legitimacy of Honduras' presidential elections last month.

"We coincide in something: for the Brazilian and the US governments the election is insufficient to normalize democracy," Garcia said, adding that they still had a "small difference" over the results of the election.

Brazil had previously warned that Washington would become isolated in the region by recognizing an election much of Latin America considered illegitimate because it was born of a coup.

"We really agree on some of the fundamental aspects of our relationship, and we have a similar view of many of the issues in the hemisphere," Valenzuela said when asked about the differences with Brazil over Honduras.

Last June 28th Honduran military arrested Zelaya at gun point and flew him to neighboring Costa Rica, triggering a major political crisis in the region. Zelaya later sneaked back into Tegucigalpa to take refuge in the Brazilian embassy and conduct a campaign for his return to power.

Attempts for Zelaya to leave the country following the November election have failed. Last week he said the de facto government would allow him to leave the country only if he signs a letter dropping his demand to be reinstated as president. His term in office is scheduled to end on January 27.

Washington and Brasí­lia agreed to set up a permanent dialogue to help end the Honduran crisis, Garcia said.

Meantime Honduran president-elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa said that the only solution for the international community to open its door to Honduras is the resignation of de facto leader Roberto Micheletti.

"It (Micheletti's resignation) is the best for Honduras and what will open us the doors at international level," Lobo told reporters.

"It is an issue that must be discussed, all of us can understand each other, this is not suicide for anybody, it is to do what is the best for the country, and the most healthy when there is a conflict without winners and losers," Lobo told local radio Radio Cadena Voces.

Lobo also said that he is ready to meet with ousted President Manuel Zelaya at any place, and would even visit the latter at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, as long as there are security guarantees.

On Thursday, Lobo had planned to meet with Zelaya in the Dominican Republic, but it had to be delayed because the de facto government denied Zelaya a safe exit.

Lobo also urged the fulfillment of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Agreement to solve the crisis in Honduras and called on Zelaya and Micheletti to "step down" their positions.

Mercopress

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