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Honduras' Zelaya due to address U.N. Assembly

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is expected to address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday at the invitation of the Assembly president, officials said on Monday.

Assembly spokesman Enrique Yeves said Zelaya was expected to speak before the 192-nation body at 11 a.m. EDT.

The Honduran military seized Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica on Sunday amid a dispute over his bid to change the Central American country’s constitution to allow presidents to serve more than a single four-year term in office.

Earlier on Monday, General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto said he had written to Zelaya to come and speak “as soon as possible and give us an updated report on events in his country.”

D’Escoto, a former foreign minister in the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the 1980s and a strong supporter of left-wing governments in Latin America, was speaking at an Assembly session he convened to discuss the coup in Honduras.

D’Escoto said the purpose of the session was to “consider ways to ensure the peaceful restoration of the legitimate government of President Zelaya in the hours and days ahead.”

He urged the assembly to “denounce the perpetrators (of the coup) with such unanimity that no military-backed regime in Honduras will be able to withstand the criticism and rejection of the world.”

Yeves said the Honduran U.N. mission was preparing a resolution on the coup that would be presented to the General Assembly after Zelaya’s speech. Assembly resolutions are nonbinding.

Honduras’ U.N. Ambassador, Jorge Arturo Reina, has backed Zelaya and on Monday told the Assembly: “Today my country has lost its democratic system of government.”

The Honduran Congress has named Roberto Micheletti as interim president until elections due in November. Reina urged the world’s nations not to accept any “illegitimate government” that took Zelaya’s place.

At Monday’s session, a string of speakers, mainly from Latin America, denounced the coup in Honduras.

Speaking for the United States, envoy Rosemary DiCarlo said Washington had joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in demanding the restoration of Zelaya and refusing to recognize any other government in Tegucigalpa.

“We will continue our work through the OAS to determine how best to support the Honduran people as they seek to peacefully restore their constitutional government,” she said.

Editing by Xavier Briand

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