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Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Nicaraguan Peace Negotiations

June 10, 1988

The President is disappointed at the Sandinista rejection of the Nicaraguan resistance proposal to achieve democracy and an end to the war in Nicaragua. Sandinista promises of democracy date back to 1979 in commitments made to the Organization of American States and repeated in the Guatemala accord of August 7, 1987, the San Jose declaration of January 16, 1988, and the Sapoa agreement of March 23, 1988. If the dialog between the resistance and the Sandinistas is to resume, the Sandinistas must show a willingness to carry out the promises to establish democracy that they have made, and broken repeatedly, over the past decade.

In the June 7 - 9 round of talks, the resistance proposed specific steps to implement a calendar of previous Sandinista commitments for establishing democracy in Nicaragua in conjunction with the cease-fire process. However, it became clear that the Sandinistas were not interested in democratization and national reconciliation. Their sole goal was the disarmament of the resistance. Deeds, not more words, are needed. Those who insisted that the best way to achieve peace and democracy in Nicaragua was to withdraw military pressure on the Sandinistas now bear a special responsibility to press for democracy in Nicaragua.

Ambassador Max Kampelman, the Counselor of the Department of State, had scheduled visits to the Central American democracies to brief their leaders on events at the recent summit in Moscow, including the summit discussions on regional issues. The President now has directed that the Ambassador seek the views of the leaders of the democracies on the current situation in Nicaragua as well.