Honduras deadlock over Zelaya

Honduras's coup-installed government said yesterday that there will be no deal for ousted leader Manuel Zelaya to leave the country unless he goes as a private citizen – not as the country's president.

Brazil criticised the interim government for its stance against Mr Zelaya, who has been holed up at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa ever since he slipped back into Honduras three months ago.

"This attitude of humiliation toward President Zelaya, to want him to sign documents [saying he is not president], is something I have never seen," the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said. As news emerged late on Wednesday of talks on a possible agreement letting Mr Zelaya depart for Mexico, that country requested guarantees for his safe passage and sent a plane to Honduras to pick him up.

Honduras' interim Foreign Minister, Carlos Lopez, said the aircraft was diverted to El Salvador when it became clear Mr Zelaya would only be allowed to leave if he accepts political asylum as a private citizen – which Mr Zelaya has refused – because that status might hinder his campaign to drum up opposition back home.

Information Minister Rene Zepeda said yesterday that a deal is off the table unless Mr Zelaya takes asylum. "There are no new talks with Mexico and Brazil on Zelaya's case," Mr Zepeda said. "If these countries want to get Zelaya out of Honduras, they will have to do it according to the law: by giving him asylum in their territories, but without a title. If that happens, our government will accept that and they can take him immediately."