SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - The Dominican government said yesterday that it has reached a deal with Honduras’s president-elect to offer ousted leader Manuel Zelaya safe passage to the Caribbean nation.
The agreement would let Zelaya, who is holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, fly to the Dominican Republic as a guest after President-elect Porfirio Lobo of Honduras takes office Jan. 27, according to Rafael Nunez, presidential spokesman.
Zelaya praised the accord as a sign of Lobo’s commitment to national reconciliation, but the ousted leader did not say when he might leave Honduras. Dominican officials said that could happen as early as inauguration day.
“I recognize this as a good gesture from Lobo to achieve national reconciliation,’’ Zelaya told Radio Globo from the embassy.
Lobo said he was confident that Honduras’s political crisis would ease after his inauguration. “We must all forgive,’’ he said after meeting with Leonel Fernandez, president of the Dominican Republic, to sign the accord.
Zelaya was toppled in a June 28 military-backed coup and flown into exile. But he later sneaked back into Honduras and took refuge in the embassy, starting a monthslong standoff with the interim government.