Honduras pact stalls over unity government
Tegucigalpa: Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said early on Friday that an accord to end a four-month political crisis had failed after de facto leader Roberto Micheletti moved to form a new government without him.
The rival leaders had agreed last week to end a four-month political crisis and form a so-called unity and reconciliation cabinet by Thursday, but they then disagreed who would lead the cabinet.
Zelaya declined to name any members to the cabinet, and Micheletti said he was going ahead without them.
"We`ve completed the process of forming a unity government ... It represents a wide spectrum despite the fact that Mr. Zelaya did not send a list of representatives," Micheletti said in a televised speech to Hondurans.
Zelaya said through a spokesman that the U.S.-brokered pact was dead and blamed the de facto government for its failure.
"It was a pantomime to act like they were engaging in a dialogue when what they`ve done is, like the coup d`etat, destroy Honduras` democracy," Zelaya representative Jorge Reina told reporters.
Earlier, ministers from the de facto cabinet resigned to make way for the new government, which Micheletti said will include names put forward by different political factions.
The impoverished coffee and textile-exporting country has been isolated diplomatically and cut off from international aid since Zelaya was toppled by soldiers and sent into exile in his pajamas in a June 28 coup that set off Central America`s worst political crisis in two decades.
Zelaya had said elections scheduled for Nov 29 will not be legitimate unless he is first restored to power to finish the remainder of his term that ends in January.
Under the accord between the two leaders, Honduran lawmakers in Congress were to decide if Zelaya can return to the presidency. The United States and the Organization of American States have stopped demanding Zelaya`s reinstatement.
The U.S. Senate confirmed on Thursday a nomination to the key Latin American policy job in the Obama administration that had been blocked for months by conservative Republicans who opposed U.S. efforts to reinstate Zelaya, an ally of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
On a voice vote, the Senate confirmed Arturo Valenzuela for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Republican Jim DeMint had barred a Senate vote on Valenzuela since July to protest what he said were the Obama administration`s efforts to try to force the restoration of Zelaya`s left-leaning government.
DeMint said on Thursday he was no longer objecting to confirmation because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pledged to him that Washington would recognize the outcome of the Honduran elections later this month, regardless of whether Zelaya is returned to office.
Zelaya was forced out of the country by the military after a secret Supreme Court ruling said he had violated the constitution by launching a drive to have a referendum to determine whether to change term limits on the Presidency.
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