MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua's Roman Catholic bishops Wednesday authorized Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo to mediate cease-fire talks between the Sandinista government and the U.S.-backed Contras.
The bishops' support cleared the way for Obando to accept President Daniel Ortega's request that he mediate cease-fire negotiations between the Sandinista government and the Contras' civilian leadership.
The Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference said Obando's mediation "is an important point to achieve reconciliation" and gave the bishops' support for the prelate to "begin sounding out both sides in the conflict."
Obando, the archbishop of Managua and an outspoken Sandinista critic, could not be reached for comment.
Ortega asked Obando last week to act as an intermediary with the U.S.-backed rebels to try to achieve a cease-fire dictated by a regional peace plan.
The cardinal said his participation in cease-fire talks was subject to approval by the Episcopal Conference, which met Tuesday and Wednesday to consider Ortega's request.
Obando--Nicaragua's highest church leader--also heads a national reconciliation commission formed under the Central American peace accord that took effect Nov. 7.