‘I want to tell the Honduran people what Manuel Zelaya has stated… this Saturday or more likely Sunday, he will return,’ Mr Ortega said as he greeted Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou.

Honduras has been in turmoil since early on Sunday, when Mr Zelaya was arrested by security forces and forced into exile in Costa Rica.

The architects of the coup had been concerned by Mr Zelaya’s moves to defy a high court judgment against a planned constitutional referendum.