U.S. Won’t Abandon Contras, Ambassador Says With AM-Nicaragua-Peace Plan
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Washington ″doesn’t expect much″ of the new Central American peace plan and won’t abandon the Nicaraguan rebels to the ″tyranny and cruelty″ of the Sandinistas, a U.S. ambassador said Tuesday.
Vernon Walters, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the plan ″asks us to abandon our friends ... before the important question - the presence of Soviet and Cuban military advisers in Nicaragua - is resolved.″
″This we cannot do,″ he told a news conference at the United States Information Service offices.
Speaking in Spanish and referring to the Nicaraguan rebels known as Contras, Walters said the United States would not ″abandon those who fight for the freedom of their country to the mercy of the Sandinistas. We cannot abandon our friends to the cruelty and tyranny″ of Nicaragua’s left-wing Sandinista government.
Walters arrived in Caracas on Sunday, the same day foreign ministers from 13 Latin American nations met here to set up a 15-member committee to oversee a cease-fire scheduled to take effect throughout Central America on Nov. 7.
The cease-fire is part of the peace plan signed Aug. 7 at a meeting in Guatemala by the presidents of the five Central American nations: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.
The plan also calls for talks between the individual governments and rebels operating in their countries, democratic reforms, an end to foreign aid for the rebels, and the withdrawal of foreign military advisers from the region.
Although most Latin American countries support the plan, the United States has criticized it on grounds it doesn’t guarantee the expulsion of Soviet and Cuban advisers from Nicaragua or democratic reforms in that country.