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article imageNicaragua talks deadlocked as govt, opponents meet for second day

By AFP     Feb 28, 2019 in World

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's leftist government and the opposition met Thursday for a second day of talks aimed at resolving 10 months of crisis sparked by a deadly crackdown on dissent in which hundreds of people were killed.

A first session on Wednesday yielded broad agreement on a "roadmap" for the talks, but both sides remained deadlocked over opposition demands that international guarantors be allowed to participate.

"The presence of international guarantors continues to be a requirement of the opposition," Carlos Tunnerman, head of the opposition Civic Alliance, told reporters.

The government has refused to allow representatives of the Organization of American States to attend the so-called National Dialogue talks.

The Catholic Church is mediating the discussions, being held behind closed doors at a business campus outside the capital.

The Vatican's representative in Nicaragua, Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag, told reporters the first meeting was devoted to defining a "roadmap" for the talks. "On 12 points (raised), agreement was found on nine," he said.

Previous Catholic Church-brokered peace talks broke down last June after the president rejected opposition demands to step down and bring forward presidential elections.

The government released around 100 imprisoned opponents of Ortega ahead of the talks, but no major opposition leaders were among them.

Protests in April sparked by the government's now-abandoned pension reform were met with a deadly crackdown from the ruling Sandinista party, leaving 325 people dead and more than 750 arrested amid calls for Ortega to step down.

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