U.S.-Brokered Honduran Pact Fails to End Crisis

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said Friday that a U.S.-brokered pact failed to end a four-month political crisis after a deadline for forming a unity government passed.

"The accord is dead," Zelaya told Radio Globo from from the Brazilian Embassy where he has been hold up under threat of arrest. "There is no sense in deceiving Hondurans."

Forged last week with the help of U.S. diplomats, the pact gave the two sides until midnight Thursday to install a government with supporters of Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, who was named interim president by Congress after Zelaya was ousted on June 28.

Jorge Reina, a negotiator for Zelaya, said the pact fell apart because Congress failed to vote on whether to reinstate the deposed president before the deadline for forming the unity government.

The pact did not require Zelaya's return to the presidency. It left the decision up to Congress. Zelaya interpreted that to mean that Congress had to vote on the issue by Thursday.

Supporters of Micheletti, who was named interim president by Congress after Zelaya was ousted on June 28, disputed that, saying the pact required that members of the unity Cabinet be in place by Thursday but that there was no deadline for Congress to meet.

"The de facto regime has failed to live up to the promise that, by this date, the national government would be installed. And by law, it should be presided by the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya," Reina said.

Shortly before midnight, Micheletti announced that a unity government had been created even though Zelaya had not submitted his own list of members. Micheletti said the new government was composed of candidates proposed by political parties and civic groups. He did not name the new members.

"Everybody, with the exception of Mr. Zelaya, recommended Hondurans to lead the institutions of our country as part of the new government," Micheletti said.

He said the unity government "is representative of a large ideological and political spectrum in our country and complies strictly with the agreement" brokered last week.

It was the latest setback for international efforts to resolve the Honduran standoff before Nov. 29 presidential elections, which several Latin American countries have vowed not to recognized if held under the coup-installed government.

The United States has suspended millions of dollars in aid to the impoverished Central American nation. But Washington had hoped that having a unity government in place before the elections would end the diplomatic isolation of a country that is a traditional U.S. ally.

The elections had been scheduled before Zelaya's ouster. Neither he or Micheletti are candidates.

Hundreds of Zelaya supporters gathered outside Congress on Thursday to demand his reinstatement. The protesters said they will boycott the elections if Zelaya is not returned to power beforehand to serve out his constitutionally limited single term, which ends in January.

Reina accused Micheletti of preparing "a great electoral fraud this November."

"We completely do not recognize this electoral process," Reina said. "Elections under a dictatorship are a fraud for the people."

The military ousted Zelaya over a dispute on whether to change the Honduran constitution. Opponents claimed Zelaya was trying extend his time in office by lifting the ban on presidential re-election. Zelaya denied that was his goal.