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Honduras' interim gov't lifts curfew
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14:55, August 01, 2009

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The interim government on Friday lifted a curfew imposed in most of Honduras after a coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

However, the curfew, imposed since the June 28 coup, was maintained in areas around Honduras' border with Nicaragua to guard against Zelaya's return.

Government spokesman Rene Zepeda said the curfew would continue in El Paraiso in the east, and Concepcion de Maria, El Triunfo and Guasaule in the south, from 6 p.m. (0000 GMT) to 6 a.m. (1200 GMT).

Honduras plunged into a political crisis when Zelaya was forced into exile after angering the army, the legislature and judiciary by seeking a constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek re-election. Zelaya had denied such intention.

Meanwhile, Zelaya, whose return to Honduras as president has been rejected by the interim government, continued his efforts to garner international support. He was to visit Mexico next week at the invitation of President Felipe Calderon.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a communique that Zelaya will arrive in Mexico on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Honduras with Calderon.

Calderon and Zelaya will also discuss the mediation process led by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, "which has a strong support from the international community."

The Mexican government "condemned since the first moment of the coup" and "has repeatedly expressed its total support to the constitutional government led by President Jose Manuel Zelaya," the ministry said.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa urged the reconciliation between the Honduran interim government and Zelaya.

The reconciliation between the two sides is for the good of all the Honduran people, Espinosa said.

The interim government has to realize that isolation is not an option, she said, adding that "it has to modify its position and allow the return to power of the ousted president."

She also said mediator Costa Rican President Oscar Arias' reconciliation plan would allow democratic order to be restored in Honduras through Zelaya's return to power.

However, Honduras' interim government on Friday toughened its stance, threatening "reciprocal" measures after the U.S. embassy revoked visas for four Honduran officials.

"None of the people whose visas were canceled have committed crimes of corruption, terrorism, drug trafficking, embezzlement or others," the ministry said.

The United States has refused to recognize the government led by post-coup leader Roberto Micheletti. The U.S. said it was reviewing the visas of all officials in Honduras' interim government.

Meanwhile, Zelaya's wife Xiomara Castro returned to capital Tegucigalpa on Friday and joined a demonstration against the interim government.

Castro had been in border town El Paraiso since July 24 with her daughter and other relatives as the interim government prevented them from crossing the border to the Nicaraguan side to join Zelaya.

Hundreds of Zelaya's followers Friday blocked key highways leading to Tegucigalpa for a second day after demonstrations the day before were dispersed by police.

On Thursday, at least six people were injured and 88 were detained during demonstrations. Police have said they will immediately disperse any kind of protests.

Source: Xinhua



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