Honduran president 'cannot return without fight'

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The Independent US

The interim leader of Honduras said the only way his predecessor would return to office was through a foreign invasion. A potential showdown was postponed yesterday when the ousted President delayed plans to return.

Roberto Micheletti told the Associated Press on Tuesday that "no one can make me resign", defying the United Nations, the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Obama administration and other leaders that have condemned the military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya.

International pressure grew yesterday. The Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that joint military operations between the US and Honduras had been put on hold – the US has close relations with the Honduras military and has about 800 personnel at an air base in the country.

The UN General Assembly has demanded the immediate restoration of Mr Zelaya and the OAS said yesterday that coup leaders had three days to restore him to power or risk having Honduras suspended from the regional group. Mr Micheletti vowed that Mr Zelaya would be arrested if he returned, even though the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador have agreed to accompany him along with the heads of the OAS and the UN General Assembly.

"He can no longer return to the presidency of the republic unless a president from another Latin American country comes and imposes him using guns," said Mr Micheletti, who shrugged off intense international pressure.

The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday that he had put his military on alert.

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