San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega Turns Down Meeting with Arias

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced last week that he won’t meet with his Costa Rican counterpart, Oscar Arias, and said Arias lacks “an attitude of unity.”

The first meeting this year between the two heads of state, who were also colleagues during their first stints in power in the  1980s, was scheduled to take place during celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Central American Peace Accords, signed in Esquipulas, Guatemala. According to the daily La Nación, Ortega says the celebrations should be held in Esquipulas, not in Costa Rica, where the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress plans to hold the event.

When Ortega brought this up at a recent presidential summit in Belize, Guatemalan President Oscar Berger proposed a compromise in which the celebrations would begin in Guatemala and end in San José, but Arias refused, the daily reported.

Another reason for Ortega’s planned absence: he needs to prepare for the visit of Brazilian head of state Lula Da Silva to Nicaragua and Honduras later that day, according to La Nación.

“The president of Honduras (Manuel Zelaya) won’t be able to go, of course, and I won’t either. I have to prepare for Lula’s visit,” Ortega said, proposing an Aug. 6 meeting in Esquipulas instead. He added that Arias lacks “an integrationist attitude, an attitude of unity. I really invite the President to join us.”

Arias had not responded to Ortega’s comments by press time.


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