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Ortega Asking for Renewed Contadora Efforts

January 11, 1986|WILLIAM R. LONG | Times Staff Writer

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — President Daniel Ortega has asked for concrete action by eight other Latin American presidents to arrange for peace talks between Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel D'Escoto.

In a letter made public here Friday, Ortega told the leaders that the possibilities for peace in Central America "depend fundamentally on achieving an understanding between the government of the United States and Nicaragua, through bilateral dialogue." The letter, dated Wednesday, was addressed to the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela--collectively the Contadora Group--have been trying to bring about a Central American peace agreement through diplomatic mediation since their foreign ministers met three years ago on the Panamanian resort island of Contadora. The other four countries, calling themselves the Contadora support group, joined the peace efforts last year.

Foreign ministers of the Contadora and support groups are scheduled to meet this weekend in Venezuela to try to devise ways to get the peace process moving again. It has been stalled since November.

In his letter to the eight presidents, Ortega said the Reagan Administration is trying "to escalate its mercenary war" against his leftist government. To advance the Contadora negotiations, he said, "it is imperative that the United States cease the aggression against Nicaragua."

He asked the eight to "undertake concrete action aimed at achieving negotiations between the United States and Nicaragua through a meeting of the American secretary of state, George Shultz, and the foreign minister of Nicaragua, Miguel D'Escoto."

'Normal Relations'

In proposing action to bring Shultz and D'Escoto together, Ortega said the negotiations "should lead to solving the bilateral problems and establishing normal relations between the two countries."

Shultz and Ortega met for an hour last March at the inauguration of Uruguayan President Julio Sanguinetti, but the meeting led to no accord. Since then, Shultz has rejected proposals for further talks.

Ortega also proposed to the eight Latin presidents that they:

--Encourage negotiations aimed at a general treaty among Central American countries, banning intervention in each other's internal affairs.

--Promote the signing of bilateral agreements between Central American countries.

--Organize a meeting of Central American presidents in May with the goal of signing a general treaty.

Ortega said that his proposals are all aimed at strengthening the Contadora process.

Contadora proposals for a Central American accord include mutual arms reductions. In November, Nicaragua said it could not sign such an agreement while under attack by U.S.-supported guerrillas.

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