18 Jul 2009

Zelaya to make fresh bid to return

9:14 pm on 18 July 2009

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela says ousted Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya is to return home.

Mr Chavez was speaking after talks in Bolivia with other left-wing Latin American leaders who support Mr Zelaya: President Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Fernando Lugo of Paraguay.

However, Mr Zelaya is reported to be still in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, and there was no indication that he was leaving.

The interim government, which has vowed to arrest him if he returns, prevented his attempted homecoming on 5 July.

On Thursday Mr Zelaya said he was was preparing to come home by air, land or other routes.

The BBC reports the chief mediator in the crisis, President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, has called rival factions to a new round of talks on Saturday.

The United States has called on Honduras' regional neighbours to support the continuing negotiations.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti took over at the head of a military-backed government after Mr Zelaya was deported on 28 June.

Mr Zelaya was forced out amid a dispute with Congress and the courts over plans to hold a referendum asking people whether they supported moves to change the constitution.

Critics said the move was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, so paving the way for his possible re-election.