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Wary Contras Agree to Talks

January 19, 1988|United Press International

MIAMI — Nicaraguan Contra leaders agreed today to talk with President Daniel Ortega in an effort to restore peace to their country but said they were skeptical because of his "long history of lies and deceit."

"People do not negotiate because they have faith in each other," said Alfredo Cesar, one of six members of the resistance board of directors who held a news conference on a series of proposals made by Ortega last weekend. "They negotiate because of political needs, especially communists."

Ortega said Saturday he would lift the 6-year-old state of emergency, hold direct talks with the Contras, and release thousands of political prisoners if the U.S. government takes them.

"Ortega has a long history of lies and deceit," Cesar said today. He added if negotiations fail, "We will keep on fighting at a level that probably would mean a very long struggle with very little hope of democracy."

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