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Interim Honduran leader vows Zelaya won't return

 Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday gestures with  Gen. Romeo Vasquez, head of th...
 Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti,  whom Congress appointed president last Sunday, gestures at the start of a ceremony to replace the...
 Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, center right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday, stands as General Romeo Vazquez salut...
 Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday gestures with  Gen. Romeo Vasquez, head of th...

Honduras Coup

Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday gestures with Gen. Romeo Vasquez, head of th...

Honduras Coup

Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday, gestures at the start of a ceremony to replace the...

Honduras Coup

Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, center right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday, stands as General Romeo Vazquez salut...

APTOPIX Honduras Coup

Honduras' congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, right, whom Congress appointed president last Sunday gestures with Gen. Romeo Vasquez, head of th...

The interim president of Honduras vowed Tuesday not to resign the post he took over following a military coup and claimed that only an armed invasion would restore his ousted predecessor to power.
Roberto Micheletti said during an interview with The Associated Press that "no one can make me resign," even though the United Nations, the Organization of America States, the Obama administration and governments around the world have condemned the military uprising and refused to recognize his government.
The world has almost universally called for the return of his democratically elected predecessor, Manuel Zelaya, but Micheletti said "he has already committed crimes against the constitution and the law. He can no longer return to the presidency of the republic unless a president from another Latin American country comes and imposes him using guns."
He did not name any specific nations, but earlier Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said any aggression toward Zelaya from Micheletti's government should prompt a military intervention by the United Nations. Chavez is a close ally of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, which neighbors Honduras.
Micheletti said his government had imposed a nightly curfew "until things get back to normal because they have warned us that some South American countries were going to attack us and the population has to be ready and prepared."
"If there's an invasion against our country," he said, "we will see 7 and a half million Hondurans ready to defend our territory, our laws and our fatherland and government."
Honduras' population is roughly that figure.
Micheletti now occupies the same office in the colonial-style presidential palace that Zelaya did until last weekend. He and his ministers were settling into new offices even as the military continued to control the building: a typical bureaucratic handover except that soldiers wandered the halls.
Micheletti said he had not spoken to a single member of U.S. President Barack Obama's government or any president in Latin America, but he maintained that 80 percent of Hondurans support him.
"I was named by Congress to represent the Honduran people. No one can make me resign if I do not violate the laws of the country," he said.
Zelaya _ whose elected term ends in January 2010 _ had defied the Supreme Court and called a referendum on constitutional change that opponents worried would lead to Zelaya prolonging his presidency.
Zelaya backed down from the referendum Tuesday, saying at the United Nations that he would no longer push for the constitutional changes he had wanted.
But Micheletti said giving up the constitutional referendum would not be enough for Zelaya to avoid arrest since the former president had "several" arrests warrants issued against him, including some dealing with drug smuggling charges.
Zelaya's opinions rating had sagged at home in recent years and his fiery brand of populism is similar to the kind that often irks the international community. Still, the world has lined up to support him.
Asked if Zelaya could one day return to power strong than ever, Micheletti said "it's not about sympathy, it's not about being a martyr, but simply that we are following the letter of the law which he did not respect."
Micheletti served as president of Congress before Sunday's ouster of Zelaya and both are members of the Liberal Party. He also said Tuesday that he will not "even seek to be a candidate again" for the presidency once his term ends in January.


Updated : 2021-05-11 13:03 GMT+08:00