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Evangelist Says Nicaraguans Inviting Aid

April 11, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An Oklahoma evangelist said Wednesday the Sandinista regime has invited his group - Feed the Children - to distribute food and medical supplies in Nicaragua.

Larry Jones also said that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega told him Monday night that he would be willing to meet with President Reagan.

″He was open for dialogue,″ Jones said. ″He was very willing to meet with President Reagan.″

Jones said his group, which he said raised $6 million in contributions last year to feed starving people in Africa and other parts of the world, would give 280,000 pounds of beans and rice and clothes to Nicaraguan churches for distribution.

The goods are intended for the victims of the civil war in which rebels assisted by the United States are fighting the leftist Sandinista government.

Jones, who called himself ″apolitical,″ said local churches would decide who gets the assistance. On April 18-20, the evangelist intends to have a public crusade in Managua.

The State Department’s Central America desk said it was not familiar with Jones’ relief effort, but it noted there are numerous humanitarian groups working in Nicaragua.

There are no restrictions on Americans visiting Nicaragua, but the State Department has issued a travel advisory for border areas where fighting is taking place.

The administration is opposed to talks between Ortega and Reagan, preferring instead a regional solution to the conflict. But it backs negotiations between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-backed rebels.

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