Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega today said his government had found a "total convergence of views" with France on the situation in Central America and he sharply attacked U.S. foreign policy in the region.
Ortega's comments came at the end of a two-day official visit Nicaragua hopes will bring closer ties with Western Europe, where many socialists have begun to question the direction of the revolution.
While officials in France's Socialist government privately have raised their own questions about a defense buildup and restraints on political pluralism in Nicaragua, those feelings appear to be outweighed by French disapproval of U.S. policy there and elsewhere. Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson last night warned that France "will not tolerate that countries, just because they are neighbors, just because they are more powerful and feel uneasy, impose their point of view" on others.
Cheysson, who spoke to reporters following a three-hour meeting yesterday between President Francois Mitterrand and Ortega, said the Nicaraguan's visit was aimed at keeping Nicaragua out of Soviet hands. How to do this is a subject of disagreement between the United States, which has been putting increased economic, political and, according to Ortega, military pressure on Nicaragua, and France, which contends the West must present an alternative to Soviet influence.
Accordingly, Cheysson confirmed that France had begun delivery of the remainder of a $15.8 million arms package sold to Nicaragua last December but suspended in March because of U.S. opposition.
He said that Ortega's visit "proves how intent the French government is on helping the policy of independence in Third World countries." Each country "has the right to choose its destiny, its regime, its political line," Cheysson said. "Nicaragua has chosen a line different from that of Costa Rica. It has every right to do so." Costa Rica, a democracy that borders Nicaragua, has been singled out for praise by the Reagan administration.