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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989 - November

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Meeting With Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua

1989-11-08

The President met at 3 p.m. today with Violeta Chamorro, Presidential candidate of the United Nicaraguan Opposition. They discussed the great progress the opposition coalition has made in the struggle to bring democracy to Nicaragua. The President expressed to Mrs. Chamorro his best wishes for her and the Nicaraguan people. The President stated that the United States stands firmly behind the Nicaraguan opposition's demands for fairness in the campaign. The President and Mrs. Chamorro agreed that although the Nicaraguan Government has taken several measures to permit greater freedoms, the Sandinistas have not fully complied with their agreement of August 4 with the opposition coalition. More needs to be done, such as providing equal access to television and full amnesty for political prisoners.

The President and Mrs. Chamorro spoke about the need for the Nicaraguan Government to renew the cease-fire with the Nicaraguan resistance. Both expressed concern that a failure to do so might be used to suppress political activity and the free expression of political will by the Nicaraguan people. The President hopes that in the talks in New York between the Sandinistas and the resistance, the Nicaraguan Government will agree to make a cease-fire effective and permanent, and create the conditions whereby the resistance could voluntarily return to their homes in safety and with full political and civil rights.

Mrs. Chamorro stressed the importance of international observers to maintaining a free and fair electoral process. The President stated the Nicaraguan Government should welcome and fully cooperate with all observers, recognizing that a government that says it supports freedom should have nothing to hide. They also discussed international assistance to the electoral process and democratic forces in Nicaragua. Both leaders stated their conviction that such assistance will play a positive role in assuring a fair election.

The President looks forward to the day when, with a democratic government, Nicaraguans will have good political and economic relations with the United States and the rest of the free world, and will be able to begin rebuilding after decades of dictatorship. He received a letter from Mrs. Chamorro stressing that a Chamorro administration would be committed to reconciliation of the Nicaraguan people and reconstruction of the economy in peace and democracy. Should this occur, the President said the United States would be ready to lift the trade embargo and assist in Nicaragua's reconstruction.

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