Honduras’s President Signs Accord Allowing Zelaya’s Return

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo signed an accord today that will allow for the return of ousted ex-president Manuel Zelaya from exile and open the way for the nation to rejoin the Organization of American States.

Lobo and Zelaya signed the agreement today in Cartagena, Colombia, with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro as witnesses, according to images on Telesur.

“This accord will restore my right, and the right of my ministers, to return to my country with our freedom,” Zelaya said on Telesur.

The agreement, which was brokered with the help of Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, also opens the way for Zelaya to hold a plebiscite on reforming the country’s basic laws and guarantees that Zelaya supporters can return safely to Honduras and form a party to participate in elections.

Honduras was voted out of the OAS after Zelaya, 58, was ousted in a 2009 coup. Santos said Honduras could be voted back into the OAS as soon as June 5, when the regional body will hold a general assembly in San Salvador.

A Honduran court dropped the last remaining charges against Zelaya on May 2, opening the way for the ousted leader’s return from exile in the Dominican Republic. Zelaya has said he plans to return as soon as next week.

Honduran soldiers sent Zelaya on a plane to Costa Rica in June 2009 after the Honduran Supreme Court ruled that Zelaya’s push to rewrite the constitution was illegal.

Chavez, who couldn’t make the signing of the agreement because of a leg injury, said on state television today that Zelaya has told him he plans to “continue to fight” for a constituent assembly.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Bogota at bschmidt16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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