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Negotiations progress but face major challenges

News from Nicaragua | Friday, 5 April 2019 |

An opinion poll published by M&R Consultores published on 26 February indicated that over 90% of respondents want dialogue, peace and stability to guarantee the wellbeing of their families and communities.

Against this background, negotiations started on 27 February involving representatives of the Government and the opposition Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

Luis Angel Rosadilla, representing the OAS general secretariat, joined Papal Nuncio Stanislaw Summertag as a witness and accompanier to the process.

On 20 March the Government and the Civic Alliance issued a press release confirming the release within a ‘maximum period of 90 days, in accordance with the country’s legal system, of all persons imprisoned and detained in the context of the events that have occurred since 18 April, 2018.’

In addition there was agreement that negotiations would cover the following:

• Strengthening of democracy and electoral reforms

• Strengthening of citizen rights and guarantees.

• Truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition

• Mechanisms for implementing the agreements to include taking steps to ensure international support

With the threat of US and EU sanctions hanging over Nicaragua an additional agreement was that ‘in due course, and in agreement between the parties, a call will be made to the international community to suspend sanctions and facilitate Nicaragua's right to human, economic and social development, favouring the most vulnerable sectors of the population.’

The negotiations concluded on 3 April having reached agreement on the release of ‘persons imprisoned or detained in the context of events since 18 April, 2018.’ This will be overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who are currently verifying the numbers involved.

However, negotiations failed to reach agreement on items related to truth, justice, and reparations and strengthening of democracy. There was agreement that time is needed to consult and reflect in order to re-establish conditions for resuming talks.

In a meeting with the diplomatic community, Daniel Ortega pointed out the challenges of the negotiations and asked for the goodwill on the part of external players trying to influence the political agenda. He also highlighted the role of opposition groups opposed to the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, Carlos Trujillo, the US representative to the OAS, has tabled a debate in the OAS on 5 April – supported by Argentina, Canada, Chile, and Costa Rica - on implementing the Inter-American charter to suspend Nicaragua’s membership of the OAS.