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Old 01-22-10, 11:10 AM   #1
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Post Zelaya plans Mexico stay, later return to Honduras (AP)

AP - Ousted President Manuel Zelaya will leave the Brazilian Embassy next week and travel to the Dominican Republic before settling in Mexico and planning his eventual return to Honduras, an aide said in an interview published Friday.

Zelaya seems destined to continue what has been a peripatetic existence since he was ousted in a June 2009 coup. After being hustled out of the country by his own soldiers, he traveled across much of Latin America seeking support for his reinstatement before sneaking back into Honduras in September and taking refuge at Brazil's embassy.

"Zelaya will remain only briefly in Santo Domingo" before traveling to the Mexican capital, aide Cesar Ham told Tiempo newspaper.

Earlier this week, Ham represented Zelaya at the signing of an agreement giving him safe conduct to leave Honduras on Jan. 27, when President-elect Porfirio Lobo is sworn into office.

Another adviser, Rasel Tome, who is inside the embassy with the ousted leader, told The Associated Press that Zelaya would leave for the Dominican Republic "if the necessary conditions are provided." He did not give specifics, but Zelaya has previously rejected the idea of exiting without guarantees to respect his dignity and safety.

In a statement, Zelaya praised the deal — though he did not confirm that he would definitely leave under its terms. He said the agreement "allows me to maintain the dignity of my person and my office" as a guest of Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.

Zelaya still faces arrest on treason and abuse of power charges stemming from his campaign to change the constitution despite the Supreme Court ruling his effort illegal.

Honduran chief prosecutor Luis Alberto Rubi said the agreement does not cancel out the charges.

Zelaya says he was illegally ousted by Honduras' powerful elite who felt threatened by his attempts to help the poor and give them more voice in the government.

The constitution bans former presidents from ever running again for the top office.


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