Ousted Honduras minister says Zelaya will return

SANTIAGO Thu Jul 2, 2009 3:23pm EDT

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Honduras' ousted finance minister said on Thursday she expects to return to office with deposed President Manuel Zelaya and showed up as her country's delegate at a meeting of regional economic leaders in Chile.

Rebeca Santos said the international community is behind Zelaya, who was thrown out of the country on Sunday in a military coup that has been widely condemned.

"We will be part of President Zelaya's delegation when he returns to the country," she said. "The fact that I am here in Chile as the finance minister of Honduras is recognition of the legal mandate of President Zelaya."

Honduras' interim leaders have resisted a deadline issued by the Organization of American States to leave power this weekend.

The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank also have put some loans to Honduras on hold to pressure the interim government to relinquish power. Santos said unfortunately programs for the poor will suffer in the impoverished country of 7 million people.

Finance ministers from the Americas and officials from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are in Chile to meet about responses to the global economic crisis.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Martinez; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Bill Trott)

FILED UNDER: