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Honduras' Zelaya denies thinking about re-election, confident in returning office
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13:52, August 05, 2009

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Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said Tuesday he had never thought of running for re-election and that he was confident he could return to office within two weeks.

"That (re-election claim) is a campaign by my opponents. There is not one single declaration of mine that supports it," he said at a press conference held at the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

Zelaya was roused from his bed and sent into exile in a military coup on June 28, just hours before a planned controversial vote asking Hondurans to sanction a future referendum on a constitutional change, which the army said might allow him to run again in November elections.

The Honduran army has said it was forced to remove Zelaya from office to defend the country, because he was seeking a backdoor route to re-election that would violate the constitution.

Zelaya said the result of the vote would call a binding referendum on rewriting the country's constitution along with the general election. Yet as a new president would be chosen in November, he would no longer have a chance to be re-elected.

The ousted president added he hoped the coup would not last another month.

"I think international solidarity can survive long enough to make the reforms my nation needs, but I hope I don't have to wait more than a couple of weeks," he said.

However, Zelaya voiced his intention to wait as long as necessary.

"I have all the time in the world. My goal is not just to return to the post but to reinstate the will of Honduras' people. I have been in power for three and a half years, and I have done a lot," he said.

While meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier on Tuesday, Zelaya said the role he and his supporters play will be a peaceful one.

"I don't believe in Talion's law of an eye for an eye. I take a pacifist position," he said.

Zelaya said that his camp in Ocotal, a town on the Nicaraguan border with Honduras, was a symbol of peaceful resistance, adding that his followers did not respond to violence from Honduras' post-coup government with violence, but with peaceful means.

He also said his move was based on article three of Honduras' Constitution, which stipulates that "no one should obey a government that takes office by force of arms."

"Insurgency is a right enshrined in the Constitution and I am calling for a peaceful insurgency," he stressed.

Calderon pledged continued support to the government in exile.

"We receive Zelaya with open arms as we have always done and as we will always do with our brother Honduras," he said. "From the day of the despicable coup, we have shown solidarity with Honduras and supported the reinstatement of Zelaya as the country's president."

Honduras' post-coup government, led by former parliamentary leader Roberto Micheletti, has refused to allow Zelaya to return to the presidency, one of the key points in a seven-point peace deal proposed by mediator Costa Rican President Oscar Arias last month.

Micheletti has called Zelaya a criminal and says he can only return to the nation to face trial.

On Tuesday, Zelaya also warned that, while the obvious fear was of a return to the 1970s and 1980s, when many Latin American nations were led by military juntas, there were new dangers that could take advantage of the precedent of a successful coup.

"If the ruling class believes that the best way to avoid dialogue is to use arms, that sets a dangerous precedent for our society. Clandestine movements can now also be financed by drug traffickers," he said.

Zelaya has also called on the United States, the major importer of Honduran products, to take more action to bring down the post-coup regime.

"The United States has not done enough, but it has been taking action,' he said. "It is not the only nation that should be taking action, but 70 percent of Honduras' trade is with the United States."

Zelaya arrived in Mexico City late Monday. Zelaya said his next stop after Mexico would be Brazil, at the invitation of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Source: Xinhua

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