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Brazilian President Urges Calm in Honduras

By VOA News
22 September 2009

Brazil's president is calling on deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to make sure a tense situation in the Honduran capital does not escalate.

Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (known as Lula) spoke Tuesday in New York, where he is attending meetings at the United Nations. He said he talked with Mr. Zelaya by phone, telling him not to give the interim government that ousted him any "pretext" to resort to violence.

Mr. da Silva also urged the de facto government to seek a negotiated end to the crisis.

Mr. Zelaya surprised the caretaker government by sneaking into the country and taking refuge at the Brazilian embassy in the capital of Tegucigalpa Monday.

He says his return is a new opportunity for dialogue, but he has been urging supporters to stage peaceful protests while warning the embassy is surrounded by police and soldiers.

Earlier, police used tear gas to disperse thousands of Zelaya supporters.

The demonstrators spent the night outside the embassy, despite a nationwide curfew which has been extended to Tuesday evening.

Acting Honduran President Roberto Micheletti is demanding Brazil turn Mr. Zelaya over to the de facto government for arrest.

Brazil's foreign minister says his country played no part in Mr. Zelaya's return, but simply accepted his bid for asylum at the embassy.

Jose Miguel Insulza, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, warned the interim Honduran government that it is responsible for Mr. Zelaya's safety and the security of the Brazilian embassy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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