Costa Rica will listen but not dicker with Nicaragua Jan. 17

Costa Rica will hear proposals for dialogue advanced by Guatemala and Mexico Jan. 17, but it will not enter into dialogue with Nicaragua until that country withdraws its troops from Costa Rican territory.

That is the position expressed by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto in a press release Monday. The position paper followed reports from Nicaragua that said the two countries would begin a dialogue unconditionally.

Diplomatically the difference is huge. Costa Rica will be
represented in Querétaro, México, Jan. 17 to know directly the proposals presented by a group of Latin countries and until that time Costa Rica will maintain its position that any discussions with Nicaragua will only take place when Managua removes in good faith its troops from the Isla Portillos-Isla Calero, said the ministry. The island is the place where Nicaraguan troops invaded and began the construction of a new mouth for the Río San Juan. Diverting the river would be a big benefit for plans to do major tourism development in the areas.

The claims of a dialogue from official Nicaraguan government sources cited a statement by Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas message expressing the hope that the two countries would engage in such discussion.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega already has failed to accept a request from the Organization of American States that said both countries should withdraw their forces. Costa Rica has complained to the United Nations and has a Jan. 11 date with the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

By treaty the court has jurisdiction over the border between the two countries.

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