U.N. tells Honduras to reinstate president

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras’ ousted president won overwhelming international support Tuesday as he planned a high-profile return to his chaotic country. The politicians who sent soldiers to fly him into exile in his pajamas said he will be arrested for treason if he tries.

The interim leader named by Congress, Roberto Micheletti, warned only an armed invasion could restore toppled President Manuel Zelaya.

“He has already committed crimes against the constitution and the law. He can no longer return to the presidency of the republic unless a president from another Latin American country comes and imposes him using guns,” Micheletti said.

The showdown was building to a climax as the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador signed on to accompany Zelaya and the heads of the Organization of American States and the U.N. General Assembly on a flight to Honduras on Thursday.

Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi said Zelaya would be seized “as soon as he sets foot on Honduran soil” and face 20 years in prison on charges that also include abuse of authority.

Zelaya — whose elected term ends in January 2010 — had defied the Supreme Court and called a referendum on constitutional change that opponents worried would lead to Zelaya prolonging his presidency.

Zelaya backed down from the referendum on Tuesday, saying at the United Nations that he would no longer push for the constitutional changes he had wanted.

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