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Mediation stalls in Honduras as leaders refuse Zelaya's return

One month after Costa Rica's president arrived to negotiate an end to the standoff, most of Honduras's top leaders are steadfastly opposed to the return of deposed president Zelaya.

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The month-old mediation effort by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to resolve Honduras's political crisis is foundering under the near-universal opposition of Honduras's top leaders to permitting deposed President Manuel Zelaya to return to power.

Political, business, church, and media leaders say they can't trust Mr. Zelaya to keep the commitments that would limit his authority under the Arias plan because, they say, Zelaya repeatedly violated the Constitution in the days that led up to his June 28 ouster over a proposed public vote that they think was aimed at extending his stay in office.

They also say that Zelaya has proved himself untrustworthy by failing to submit a budget to Congress last year and by shifting left in the middle of his term and allying himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a fierce critic of the United States, traditionally Honduras' most important political and economic ally.

These officials say they prefer that de facto President Roberto Micheletti — or perhaps another senior government official who'd replace him — lead the country through the regularly scheduled Nov. 29 presidential elections and let the newly elected president take over as scheduled Jan. 27.

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