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Contras Agree to Meet Sandinistas in an Effort to Renew Peace Talks

Associated Press

The Nicaraguan Contras on Thursday accepted a Sandinista offer to begin preparations in Guatemala City on Monday for high-level talks to end the conflict in the Central American country.

“We hope we can achieve a breakthrough and create momentum,” said Bosco Matamoros, a spokesman for the U.S.-backed Contras, who oppose Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

However, he said the Nicaraguan government must free all remaining political prisoners and permit “freedom of expression” for negotiations to succeed.

Victor Hugo Tinoco, Nicaragua’s deputy foreign minister, has been notified in Managua of the Contras’ acceptance of the preliminary meeting, Matamoros added.

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He also said the Contras are proposing that the high-level talks be held Sept. 26-28 in Guatemala, Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic.

But Matamoros stressed that it was up to the Sandinista government “to create a favorable climate for a round of negotiations at the high level” that would work out a peaceful settlement.

Negotiations between the two sides to achieve a permanent peace in the six-year civil war broke down in June after 11 weeks.

The Sandinista government blamed the collapse of the talks on last-minute demands by the Contras.

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Although Secretary of State George P. Shultz met Wednesday with rebel leaders, Matamoros said the decision to accept the Sandinista offer for a preliminary meeting was made independently by the Contras.


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