San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Zelaya supporters in Honduras call for UN's help in bringing deposed leader back to power

A top aide to the deposed Honduran government is urging for the Organization of American States and the United Nations to assist in returning Manuel Zelaya to the Central American nation´s presidency.

“The only way to reinstate the president (Zelaya) is through the participation of the OAS and the UN,” Nelson Avila, economic adviser to the Zelaya administration, told the newswire EFE during a gathering of Zelaya supporters held Sunday in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

“The UN should send along the ‘blue helmets´ during the reinstatement of President Zelaya…because if not there´s going to be civil war here,” Avila warned, referring to the UN´s blue-helmeted peacekeeping forces.

The remarks came as Zelaya met with OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza in Washington, D.C., the latest stop-off in Zelaya´s packed itinerary of visits with leaders in Central and North America and the Caribbean, which began in Costa Rica when he landed here on June 28 after the military ousted him. In forced exile, Zelaya has been traveling and drumming up international support ever since.

The Washington visit followed tense talks in Costa Rica to seek an end to the standoff between Zelaya and the government that has replaced him. The dialogue in San José, mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias in his living room, started Thursday and ended Friday in a stalemate, both sides appearing as entrenched in their positions as ever.

Arias is expected this week to announce the date for a fresh round of talks, also likely to take place in the Costa Rican capital.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a close ally of Zelaya who on Friday criticized the mediation process, has said that the ousted Honduran leader´s return is imminent.

“Zelaya will go to Honduras at any moment. He´s going to appear in any part of Honduras,” Chávez said on his Sunday TV and radio program “Aló Presidente.”

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