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US urges flexibility in efforts for Honduras deal

US urges flexibility in efforts for Honduras deal

Washington asked coup-torn Honduras' opposing political factions to be more flexible about ways to resolve the country's 4-month-old crisis, as a delegation led by a senior U.S. official arrived Wednesday in hopes of spurring further dialogue.
Talks between representatives of the interim government and supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya have broken over a key point _ whether Zelaya will be reinstated _ with a previously scheduled election looming in November.
Tom Shannon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, led the delegation, which includes his department's No. 2, Craig Kelly, and Dan Restrepo, President Barack Obama's point man on Latin America to the National Security Council.
They did not speak to reporters before heading into meetings, but U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the diplomats planned to talk to both camps.
"They're urging both sides to show flexibility and redouble their efforts to bring this crisis to an end," Kelly told reporters Wednesday in Washington.
Kelly said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who called both leaders this weekend, "believes that the United States could play a constructive role now to encourage all sides to return to the negotiating table."
The international community, including the United States, wants Zelaya returned to office.
But the government of Robert Micheletti, sworn in as interim president after the coup, says Zelaya was legally removed from office June 28 after he defied a court order to cancel a referendum on whether to rewrite the constitution. It accuses the leftist leader of attempting to lift a ban on presidential term limits, something Zelaya denies.
Micheletti said Tuesday that talks should resume after the Nov. 29 elections and that the vote will resolve the crisis _ despite warnings from Zelaya and a number of countries and international bodies that they will not recognize the election if Zelaya is not back in office by then.
Also Wednesday, the Micheletti government said it is filing a complaint with the International Court of Justice in the Hague to demand Brazil stop sheltering Zelaya at its embassy in Tegucigalpa. It accuses Brazil of violating its diplomatic status and could seek unspecified compensation for alleged damages to the Honduran state, according to a statement from Carlos Lopez, the interim foreign minister.
Zelaya, who was escorted out of the country by soldiers at gunpoint on June 28, has been inside the diplomatic compound since slipping back into Honduras on Sept. 21.
Brazil supports his demand to be reinstated and has not pressured him or his supporters to leave. The South American country accuses the coup-installed government of harassing its embassy's occupants by blasting them with music and has demanded the tactics stop.
Micheletti's government pledges not to storm the diplomatic mission but says Zelaya faces arrest if he leaves.
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Associated Press Writer Matt Lee in Washington contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-06 19:22 GMT+08:00