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Arias proposes coalition government, earlier elections for Honduras
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11:13, July 19, 2009

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Costa Rican President Oscar Arias proposed on Saturday a power-sharing reconciliation government and moving up the November elections as a solution to the current political crisis in Honduras.

Representatives of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and the country's post-coup interim government met here on Saturday for the second round of talks aimed at finding a probable end to the current situation of turbulence.

Arias suggested during his meeting with the delegations that a "government of reconciliation" should be established with the participation of both parties, and the general elections should be moved up from November to the last week of October.

According to Arias' proposal, Zelaya, as the constitutional president of Honduras, should return to office and stay in power till Jan. 27, while the general elections, originally scheduled for Nov. 29, should be held earlier on Oct. 25.

He also proposed a political amnesty for all political crimes committed before and after the June 28 coup.

The Costa Rican president, winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize, also requested the Honduran military force to hand out the power to the Supreme Court of Elections, so as to guarantee the voting procedure's "transparency and normality."

And a commission should be set up by national figures of Honduras in cooperation with international-regional organizations to verify whether the agreements -- if reached -- are put into practice by real means.

The Costa Rican president promised that, once his proposals are accepted, his government will make every effort to help Honduras return to the Organization of American States (OAS), from which it was expelled days after the coup. He also promised to push for the lifting of coercive sanctions against the country.

In the first round of talks held in San Jose last weekend, the only agreement reached between the Zelaya side and the de facto Honduran government was to meet here again to make one more attempt for a peaceful solution.

On Friday Zelaya gave a one-day ultimatum to the mediation process, calling on his followers to stand up in revolt if the second-round talks fail.

He also vowed to return to Honduras within days despite an arrest order issued against him by the post-coup leadership. His return plan was not revealed for reasons of security, but the interim government was preparing to frustrate his probable entry from Nicaragua, which borders Honduras with mountains and thick forests.

In Honduras on Saturday, supporters of Zelaya and those of the interim government clashed in a coastal city, pelting stones and wielding sticks against each other.

According to local media reports, in Tocoa City on the Atlantic coast of the Central American country, Zelaya's sympathizers clashed with demonstrators in support of the interim government headed by former congressional leader Roberto Micheletti.

Witnesses said that during the conflict many people, including youngsters and children, were badly beaten, and the police had to intervene to bring the situation under control.

Meanwhile, in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, hundreds of Zelaya's supporters blocked the traffic on a main pathway in the southern parts of the urban area.

Zelaya was ousted and forced into exile on June 28 in a military coup, which was widely condemned by the international community.

Source: Xinhua

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