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Coup leaders vow president won't be restored

Article published on the 2009-07-02 Latest update 2009-07-02 10:57 TU

Taxi drivers on Wednesday march in support of Honduras' ousted President Manuel Zelaya in Tegucigalpa.Photo: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Taxi drivers on Wednesday march in support of Honduras' ousted President Manuel Zelaya in Tegucigalpa.
Photo: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

European Union states have annouced the withdrawal of their ambassadors as coup leaders in Honduras remain defiant, saying ousted president Manuel Zelaya would not return to power.

There has been no break in the impasse between the international community and backers of a military coup that pulled Zelaya out of bed on Sunday and sent him into exile in his pyjamas.

The Organisation of American States has threatened to suspend Honduras's membership if the coup leaders do not restore the ousted president to power, while the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank have halted their aid payments.

Spain recalled its ambassador to Honduras on Wednesday and poured pressure on other EU governments to follow suit.

Its foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, told Spanish National Radio Wednesday night that all European embassies in Tegucigalpa would withdraw their ambassadors.

"I think that it is a clear sign of the position of Europe, of the international community - and the provisional authorities (in Honduras) must reflect on it," he said.

The 27 EU nations had already agreed to have no contact with coup leaders.

Honduras' interim president, Roberto Micheletti, said Zelaya - who tried to hold a referendum to make constitutional changes that would allow him a second term - is accused him of crimes including treason and abuse of authority.

"We can't reach an agreement because there are orders to capture the ex-president Zelaya here for crimes he committed when he was an official," Micheletti said after swearing in new members of his cabinet.

Micheletti said he would send a delegation to the United States to explain the coup leaders' side of the story. He insisted the impoverished nation would still receive aid. "We have commitments with our country. We don't need to settle things with anyone," he said.