Honduras speech at UN delayed until Monday

Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:16pm EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A speech to the U.N. General Assembly by a representative of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s government has been postponed from Saturday to Monday, a U.N. official said.

Zelaya’s foreign minister, Patricia Rodas, had been on the list of speakers for Saturday’s general debate, according to the U.N. General Assembly’s website earlier on Saturday, but her name was later removed.

A spokesman for the General Assembly said the speech had been postponed but gave no reason for the delay.

Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup in June, slipped back into Honduras earlier this week and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the capital Tegucigalpa, sparking a standoff with security forces who have massed outside.

The General Assembly passed a resolution in June stating it only would recognize Zelaya’s government and urging his reinstatement. The de facto government that deposed him says he violated the constitution and was removed legally on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The United States, which supports Zelaya’s reinstatement, hopes an Organization of American States mission aimed at bringing the two sides together in talks will be sent to Honduras early next week, a U.S. official said on Saturday.

“We’re hoping that it can be put together today, if not tomorrow, and that it could be on the ground early in the week,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition that he not be identified.

Asked on Saturday evening if there was any progress arranging the OAS mission, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Reuters: “We are working on that … We are supporting such a delegation. The make up of it, The timing of it is still being discussed.”

Another U.S. official, also speaking on condition he not be identified, said on Wednesday he expected an OAS mission to include the regional organization’s chief, Jose Miguel Insulza, as well as representatives from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Foreign ministers of the seven nations visited the poor Central American nation in August to try to persuade the interim government to accept a deal that would let Zelaya back into power until elections can be held in November.

(Reporting by Claudia Parsons and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Paul Simao)

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