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Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border Inspection Commission Outlined

March 13, 1986

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) _ Nicaragua and Costa Rica have agreed on the broad outlines of a multinational commission and peacekeeping force to prevent outbreaks of violence along their border.

The agreement, reached Wednesday night, was mainly aimed at halting raids by U.S.-backed Nicaraguan rebels, known as Contras, who have operated along the 210-mile border with virtual impunity for four years.

After signing the accord for his country, Nicaragua’s deputy foreign minister, Victor Hugo Tinoco, told reporters the agreement showed Latin American nations disagree with U.S. policy toward Central America.

″Despite what the government of the United States thinks, it is clear that Latin America wants peace in the region,″ Tinoco said. ″Latin America is united behind the efforts of Contadora and is looking for political solutions.″

Tinoco referred to a 3-year-old effort by the Contadora group - Mexico, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela - to negotiate a peace treaty for Central America.

Wednesday’s diplomatic effort came as the Reagan administration pressured Congress to provide $100 million in arms and other aid to the Contras, who are trying to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

The proposed U.S. aid would help the Contras open a strong southern front on Nicaragua’s border with Costa Rica, an effort that an effective border commission could thwart.

Although there has been fighting on Nicaragua’s southern border for some time, the largest of several rebel forces maintains camps along the country’s northern frontier with Honduras.

The agreement between Costa Rica and Nicaragua calls for a border commission made up of members from the two countries and representatives of eight other Latin American nations.

The commission would be permanently based on both sides of the border, charged with ″observation, investigation, inspection on site and verification of incidents or of events likely to produce border tensions,″ the two nations said in a joint communique.

Additionally, the neighboring countries agreed to abide by any recommendation s of the commission and to take steps to correct problems the peacekeeping force may uncover along their border.

The joint communique came at the end of a 12-hour meeting between representatives of Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the deputy foreign ministers of the four Contadora nations.

In addition to members from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the four Contadora countries, the commission would have representatives from the South American Contadora Support Group of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.

The exact size of the commission was left for further discussion, as were the questions of its funding and how it would be equipped.

In a statement opening Wednesday’s meeting, Costa Rica’s foreign minister called for a strong, effective commission, noting previous efforts to control the border brought ″sterile results.″

″We don’t want a mere symbolic act, but reality,″ Minister Carlos Jose Guierrez told the visiting diplomats. ″We want a commission that functions and functions well.″

Costa Rica and Nicaragua resumed full diplomatic relations last month after an eight-month freeze caused by the deaths of two Costa Rican civil guardsmen in a mortar attack along the border May 3l, 1985.

Nicaragua ultimately accepted responsibility for the deaths, but said its actions were precipitated by Contra activities.

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