NEW YORK — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said that ousted leader Manuel Zelaya's return to Honduras offers an opportunity to end the country's political crisis.
"Now that President Zelaya is back it would be opportune to restore him to his position under appropriate circumstances, get on with the election that is currently scheduled for November, have a peaceful transition of presidential authority and get Honduras back to constitutional and democratic order," Clinton told reporters as she met with Arias in New York.
The top US diplomat also stressed it "is imperative his return not lead to violence."
Thousands of Zelaya supporters poured into the streets of a tense Tegucigalpa Monday on hearing of his return nearly three months after he was ousted in a coup, while the interim leaders who sent him away at first denied he was back.
Shortly afterwards, they imposed a curfew lasting until Tuesday morning.
Arias, who brokered failed peace talks between the Zelaya camp and the interim government, was also hopeful about a political resolution.
"I think this is the best opportunity, the best time, now that Zelaya is back in his country," he said.
Arias, a Nobel peace laureate, also urged Zelaya and the interim government to sign July's San Jose accord, which called for Zelaya's return to the presidency.
"It's all we have on the table," Arias said. "There's no B plan."
Honduras interim president Roberto Micheletti's de facto government had rejected the accord outright when Arias released it.
And on Monday Zelaya, who took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, told Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that he too would not accept the San Jose accord, according to Nicaragua's envoy to the Organization of American States.
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