UNITED NATIONS — Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, adopting a softer tone toward the United States than in his last appearance at the United Nations, told the Security Council on Tuesday he came not to "launch insults" or condemn the Reagan Administration but to plead for peace.
Ortega led off the debate by the 15-nation council on a Nicaraguan request for support of the ruling in June by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that U.S. aid for the anti-Sandinista rebels, called contras, is illegal. The court, often called the World Court, has no way to enforce its rulings.
Ortega's low-key speech contrasted sharply with his address to the General Assembly's 40th anniversary session last October.
However, Ortega declared Tuesday: "Neither threats, nor embargoes, nor invasions can destroy our determination to safeguard our legitimate right of self-determination, and for it we are ready to lay down the lives of 3 1/2 million men, women, youth, children and elderly of Nicaragua.
Not Launching Insults
"But we must repeat that we do not want confrontation, that we have not come to the Security Council to launch insults against the North American government, but to seek peace and respect for international law."
U.S. Ambassador Vernon A. Walters, speaking to an afternoon session after Ortega had left, replied that the World Court, in its June 27 decision, "fundamentally misperceived the situation in Central America."
(The United States, one of 46 member states that originally accepted the court's jurisdiction, disavowed that jurisdiction after Nicaragua brought its suit and refused to participate after the opening phases of the trial).
"Nicaragua has tried to present the crisis in Central America as essentially a conflict between the United States and Nicaragua," Walters said. "The real problem is not a conflict between the Sandinista comandantes and the United States, however. It is a conflict between the comandantes and the long-suffering people of Nicaragua, who have been the victims of ever-increasing Sandinista repression. And it is a conflict between the comandantes and Nicaragua's neighbors who have been the victims of unprovoked Sandinista aggression."
U.S. Conditions Stated
Washington will accept no negotiations with Nicaragua, Walters warned, unless the Sandinistas simultaneously open talks with their political opponents at home and work out a regional peace plan with their neighbors.
No resolution was placed on the table as the representatives of five other nations spoke--India, Czechoslovakia, Syria and South Yemen in support of Ortega, and El Salvador in support of the United States.
Nicaraguan Ambassador Nora Astorga circulated a draft resolution among member states, however, which called for "immediate and full compliance" with the World Court judgment. It called on both parties to seek a peaceful resolution of their disputes and on all states to cease "political, economic or military actions of any kind against any state of the region." The resolution did not ask for condemnation of the United States.
(The Associated Press reported from The Hague that Nicaragua filed actions in the World Court to ban anti-Nicaraguan rebel activity in neighboring Honduras and Costa Rica. One complaint accuses the Honduran military of aiding attacks by the contras, and of taking part in armed attacks on Nicaraguan territory.
(The other complaint, the AP said, charges that Costa Rica has taken no action to halt activities by contras based on its territory. Nicaragua asked for reparations from both countries.)