Obama reaffirms backing for Zelaya

GUADALAJARA: US President Barack Obama on Monday reaffirmed US support for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and accused critics of his policy on the political crisis of hypocrisy.

"President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president and, for the sake of the Honduran people, democratic and constitutional order must be restored," Obama said during a summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper here.

"Our three nations stand united on this issue."

Zelaya was ousted from power in a June 28 military-supported coup, and Obama's comments come before a high-level Organization of American States (OAS) delegation including the foreign ministers of Argentina, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica travels to Honduras this week to seek a solution to the crisis.

The US leader also took aim at critics who have accused Washington of meddling in internal Honduran politics.

"The same critics who say the US has not intervened in Honduras are the same people who say we are always intervening and Yankees need to get out of Latin America," he said, accusing such opponents of "hypocrisy."

"You can't have it both ways," he said, adding that Zelaya had been removed from office illegally in a coup.

The Honduran government which came to power after ousting Zelaya said the mission would be welcome under the condition that OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza will only participate as an observer.

Honduran interim leader Roberto Micheletti has rejected any solution to the crisis that would include Zelaya's return to power.

Washington has so far refused to recognize Micheletti's government, has suspended military aid to Honduras and revoked the diplomatic visas of some of the interim Honduran leaders.