A third round of mediation talks aimed at ending the political crisis in Honduras began in Costa Rica on Wednesday as the deposed leader of Honduras announced his plan to return home later Wednesday.
The chief mediator, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, presented a "Declaration of San Jose" to both camps as a final solution to the ongoing political crisis. The declaration is expected to be signed later on Wednesday by both sides.
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya announced earlier on Wednesday from Nicaragua that he would return to Honduras with or without agreement between the parties once a 72-hour deadline for a solution, set by Arias, ends at midnight Wednesday.
Moreover, in an interview with the Spanish TV network Candena Ser, Zelaya urged his followers to accompany him on his return to Honduras, starting at 2100 GMT on Wednesday.
Arias set the deadline last Sunday for Honduras' interim government to accept a declaration proposed last week during the second round of talks.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias reads the Declaration of San Jose at the presidential palace in San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, July 22, 2009. Arias on Wednesday announced a Declaration of San Jose as a solution to Honduras' ongoing political crisis.(Xinhua/Esteban Datos)
Zelaya said that his life would be at risk because the armed forces under the de facto government had made it clear they would "shoot and kill" Zelaya if he tried to enter the country.
The post-coup government of Roberto Micheletti, on the other hand, has expressed several times their refusal to accept Zelaya's return to power.
According to the de facto government, the moment Zelaya enters Honduras, he will be detained and sent to court for violating the constitution.
Honduran interim foreign minister Carlos Lopez restated the position at a press conference before the delegation he led flew back to San Jose for the third round of talks.
"This hypothesis of a possible return of Mr. Zelaya to occupy the presidency" is totally rejected, Lopez said in a press conference after his meeting with post-coup leader Micheletti at the Presidential House. Source: Xinhua