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President Lula Warns Honduras Against Invading Brazilian Embassy

September 22nd, 2009
Violence in the streets of Honduras

Violence on the streets of Honduras

Talking by phone to Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president of Honduras, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told him not to give any pretext to his enemies so that they might use it to invade the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where Zelaya took refuge Monday, after having been ousted and expelled from his country three months ago.

Lula also warned the Honduran government to not try any violent action against the diplomatic representation of Brazil in that country.

“I talked to president Zelaya and I asked him to watch out and to not give any pretext to the leaders of the coup,” said Lula. “We hope the authors of the coup won’t get inside the embassy.”

The Brazilian embassy in Honduras has been surrounded by troops. Water, electricity and telephone lines have been cut and police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of thousands that were occupying the are around the embassy compound. There are reports that at least two people have been killed.

Lula, who is New York, said that he supports Zelaya’s return to power and wants a negotiated and democratic solution for the crisis. “What we expect is that the coup authors allow the return of the president democratically elected by the people. We cannot accept that people oust an elected president due to political differences.”

The Honduran foreign ministry told reporters this Tuesday, that the inviolability of a diplomatic building doesn’t mean protection for Justice fugitives. Zelaya has been declared a fugitive after being expelled from Honduras following the June military coup-d’état.

The administration of de-facto president Roberto Micheletti accused Brazil of interfering in domestic issues of his country, but guaranteed that the security forces will not invade the Brazilian embassy to take Zelaya into custody.

“There’s no possibility of an invasion. We have agreements and will respect the diplomatic headquarters,” declared Martha Alvarado, Honduras’s vice-chancellor. “Moreover, this would bring us more trouble”.

Earlier, an aide from the foreign Relations Ministry, Mario Fortin, had declared that the Army might invade the Brazilian embassy to arrest the deposed president.

World’s Reaction

Micheletti demanded that Brazil hand over deposed constitutional president Manuel Zelaya who is currently in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa following a dramatic secret return to the country.

From Washington the OAS called on all sides for responsibility and prudence to avoid acts of violence that could impede national reconciliation.

In a televised address Monday evening Micheletti said Brazil would be held responsible for any violence.

“A call to the government of Brazil: respect the judicial order against Mr Zelaya and turn him into Honduran authorities,” he said.

“The eyes of the world are on Brazil and Honduras.”

Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, warned that any threat to Mr Zelaya or the Brazilian embassy would be a grave breach of international law.

Mr Zelaya’s return took officials by surprise, with Mr Micheletti at first denying the deposed leader was in the country.

As tension inside Honduras increased, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mr Zelaya’s return must not lead to violence.

“It’s imperative that dialogue begin… (that) there be a channel of communication between President Zelaya and the de facto regime in Honduras,” she said.

Mrs Clinton spoke in New York after talks with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who has brokered failed peace talks between the two Honduran parties.

In images broadcast on national television, a smiling Mr Zelaya wearing his trademark white cowboy hat appeared on the balcony of the Brazilian embassy waving to a crowd of supporters.

Shortly afterwards officials imposed the 15-hour curfew, starting at 4 pm (10 pm GMT) on Monday.

Mr Amorim said neither Brazil nor the OAS had played any part in Mr Zelaya’s return.

The interim government has repeatedly threatened to arrest Mr Zelaya should he return, and charge him with corruption.

Mr Zelaya urged the armed forces not to use violence against demonstrators.

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza also called for calm, telling Honduran authorities they were responsible for the security of Mr Zelaya and the Brazilian embassy.

The OAS Permanent council in an emergency meeting Monday demanded the de facto government of Honduras to guarantee the life and physical integrity of deposed president Manuel Zelaya.

The council also asked the Honduras de facto leaders to sign the 12 point San Jose Accord proposed by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, acting a mediator, and proposing the return of President Zelaya.

Finally OAS demanded from all sectors of the Honduran society “to act with responsibility and prudence, avoiding actions that could generate violence or impede national reconciliation” that is so cherished by the Honduran people and the rest of the continent.

Bzz/MP

http://www.brazzilmag.com


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