|Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (C) greets his supporters upon his arrival in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, on May 28, 2011. Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Saturday returned to Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, after 16 months in exile. (Xinhua/Rafael Ochoa)
by Zhou Jianxin
TEGUCIGALPA, May 28 (Xinhua) -- After mediations of regional countries, former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 2009 coup, ended his exile and returned to homeland Saturday.
He arrived at Tegucigalpa's international airpor at 14:25 local time (2025 GMT), on a Venezuelan plane that took off from Managua, Nicaragua, where he arrived Friday night.
Zelaya was welcomed by thousands of supporters at the airport who were cheering and waving flags as he stepped off the plane.
Wearing his trademark white cowboy hat, the former president urged his supporters to stop all coups in Honduras, resort only to peaceful resistance, and work toward national reconciliation.
He also thanked regional mediators such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, saying his return was "the result of an effort of all the countries of Latin America."
He was accompanied by foreign ministers from Venezuela and Bolivia, former Panamanian president Martin Torrijos, and other representatives of Latin American countries.
After his arrival, Zelaya met with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza.
Zelaya's return was secured after he signed an agreement with Lobo on May 22, as a pre-condition for Honduras to be readmitted to the OAS, which suspended the country's membership after the coup.