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Nicaragua Receives Rebel Coalition's Ultimatum on Talks

March 03, 1985|United Press International

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Leaders of major rebel and political groups opposed to Nicaragua's government issued an ultimatum to the Marxist-led Sandinistas on Saturday to relinquish their "totalitarian" hold on the country by April 20.

The document called on the government of President Daniel Ortega to negotiate directly with representatives of the more than 14,000 rebels fighting to overthrow the Managua regime--a U.S.-backed proposition that the Sandinistas have rejected.

By signing the document, the dissident leaders hope to bolster President Reagan's campaign to secure congressional funding of $14 million for the anti-Sandinista rebels, known as contras.

Among those signing the seven-page "Project Unity" declaration were Arturo Cruz, a former Sandinista ambassador to Washington; Alfonso Robelo, a former Sandinista junta member and political head of the Costa Rican-based Democratic Revolutionary Alliance, and Adolfo Calero, the leader of the Honduran-based Nicaraguan Democratic Force.

About 40 other people, including self-exiled newspaper editor Pedro Joaquin Chamorro and representatives of the Nicaraguan business community, signed the document.

"We want to issue another summons to Managua to hold a dialogue," said Cruz. "If they ignore it, they will have the historic responsibililty on their backs."

The document said the dialogue should start by March 20 and should include civilian government opponents and be organized by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Nicaragua.

"If by April 20, it (the dialogue) has not started, nor advanced in an evident and substantial form, it will be definitively suspended by the Nicaraguan resistance . . . ," the document said.

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