Acting Honduran President Will Not Confront Brazil Over Asylum
By VOA News
22 September 2009
A nationwide curfew in Honduras has been extended for another night, as soldiers in the capital, Tegucigalpa, surround the Brazilian embassy, where ousted President Manuel Zelaya is taking refuge.
Reports from the scene say the embassy's electricity, water and telephone lines were cut off, leaving Mr. Zelaya and about 70 friends and relatives, as well as some diplomatic staff, isolated with dwindling supplies. Mr. Zelaya and his entourage sneaked into Honduras on Monday after a three-month exile.
The acting president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, told Reuters news agency Tuesday that Brazil should either grant Mr. Zelaya asylum within Brazil's borders, or turn him over to the Micheletti government for arrest.
The nation's airports are closed down and roadblocks have been established to keep Zelaya supporters from gathering in the capital. Riot police are out in force, using tear gas and water cannons against protesters hurling stones at them.
Both Brazil and the United States have called for calm, urging all sides to avoid actions that would lead to further unrest. A State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, urged both sides to sign an agreement mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
Mr. Zelaya says his return is a new opportunity for dialogue, although he has been urging supporters to stage peaceful protests.
Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, spoke by telephone to Mr. Zelaya Tuesday. He said he told the ousted leader not to give the interim government a reason to resort to violence.
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.
The secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, warned the interim Honduran government that it is responsible for Mr. Zelaya's safety as well as the security of the Brazilian embassy.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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