TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras' coup-installed government plans to block the arrival of a commission of foreign ministers heading to the country this weekend to help resolve the country's political standoff, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said Friday.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate who moderated previous talks between Honduras' opposing factions said the government of interim President Roberto Micheletti has told the Organization of American States not to send the ministers because they will not be allowed into the country.
Arias made the announcement on the Costa Rican radio program Nuestra Voz.
His announcement signaled a setback just as the two sides appeared to be edging toward possibly restarting talks to end the turmoil sparked by the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.
Micheletti's government spokesman Rene Zepeda said interim leaders want Arias to visit Honduras first so they can explain the situation to him, and that the ministers would be welcome next week.
Arias said he has no immediate plans to visit Honduras.
Zelaya has been holed up at the Brazilian Embassy since Monday after sneaking back into the country. He said he will remain at the army-surrounded compound, accompanied by his family and about 70 supporters.
He conversed late Wednesday with an unnamed Micheletti official and said Thursday that it was "the beginning" to finding "peaceful solutions."
But later, Zelaya said the Micheletti administration took "an extremely hard" stand when the two met.
The ousted leftist leader is demanding he be restored to power after soldiers marched him out of the country at gunpoint. So far, Micheletti's government has said that is not negotiable.
The standoff virtually shut down the country for three days after Zelaya's surprise return. Airports, schools and border crossing reopened Thursday and by Friday morning the curfews were lifted nationwide.
Zelaya was kicked out of Honduras after the Supreme Court endorsed charges of treason and abuse of authority against the leader for repeatedly ignoring court orders to drop plans for a referendum on whether the constitution should be rewritten.
Micheletti has pledged to arrest Zelaya if he leaves the embassy.
International leaders, including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and U.S. President Barack Obama, have called for Zelaya's reinstatement ever since he was ousted, and his surprise arrival in Honduras has prompted new calls for Micheletti to step down.
The U.N. Security Council scheduled consultations on a letter from Brazil seeking an emergency meeting on Honduras.
Micheletti has said the conflict will be resolved when Hondurans elect their next leader Nov. 29, although the U.S. and other countries have said they may not recognize the vote if Zelaya is not reinstated.
Negotiations moderated by Arias broke down after Micheletti's government refused to accept a plan that would allow Zelaya to return to the presidency with limited powers and prohibit him from attempting to revise the constitution. Zelaya's term ends in January.