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Zelaya to leave Honduras next week says adviser

Ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya walks inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, November 6, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will end his four-month refuge in the Brazilian embassy and leave the country next week, when his term would have ended, his closest adviser said on Thursday.

Zelaya, a leftist who was ousted in a coup on June 28, accepted an agreement backed by the government of the Dominican Republic to travel to the Caribbean country, close Zelaya aide Rasel Tome told Radio Globo radio.

Tome said Zelaya would remain politically active, but leaving the country effectively ends his career as a meaningful leader in Honduras.

“On January 27 there is a way out ... The exit will not be a permanent exit, we will come back to the country to continue in these processes with the Honduran people,” Tome said.

Zelaya failed to return to office and reverse the coup despite support from the United States and many Latin American countries.

The agreement, signed by Honduras’ President-elect Porfirio Lobo, stipulates Zelaya, his family members and his circle of advisers can enter the Dominican Republic after Lobo assumes power next Wednesday.

Lobo won a November election, which many nations denounced as illegitimate because it was organized by the de facto government that toppled Zelaya, who took refuge in the embassy in September.

Zelaya was ousted on an order from the Supreme Court after he angered the country’s business leaders and members of his own party with a bid to change the constitution, which is illegal under Honduran law.

His critics accused him of trying to stay in office past his term, following in the footsteps of Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez, a charge Zelaya denies.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Cynthia Osterman