Ortega raises stakes over Zelaya
NICARAGUAN president Daniel Ortega claimed Honduras' coup-installed government might try to provoke a border incident "to distract attention" from international efforts to restore ousted president Manuel Zelaya.
The claims come as Honduras' interim leader dampened hopes for a negotiated solution, saying firmly that there's no way the ousted president can return to power.
"There is a danger that, to try to distract attention from the internal conflict they themselves created, they might organise a group of people with military training to attack a Honduran army position, for that to serve as a pretext for a retaliation against Nicaragua," Ortega said in a speech in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital.
Ortega, who has been hosting Zelaya and a few hundred of his supporters, did not offer details on when such a provocation might occur.
"But they shouldn't think they would have a cakewalk in Nicaragua," he said.
The two countries' border was the scene of much of the fighting in the 1980s Contra war, in which US-backed rebels fought Ortega's Sandinista government.
Ortega said his country "is preparing for war because we want peace."
Marking a tougher stance, riot police in Tegucigalpa fired tear gas and arrested supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya who blocked a main artery leading into the Honduran capital on Friday. Interim president Roberto Micheletti said his government would no longer tolerate street blockades.
Micheletti's foreign ministry said in a statement that it "reserves the right" to cancel visas for US diplomatic personnel in Honduras, in retaliation for Washington's decision this week to revoke the diplomatic visas of four Honduran officials. However, the government did not take any immediate steps against US diplomats.
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