Spain's Socialist goverment today publicly backed the Central American peace initiative sponsored by the four-nation Contadora Group.
The endorsement statement followed the return to Spain of Foreign Minister Fernando Moran from a week-long trip to Mexico and Colombia.
The communique marked the first official stand on Central America by Spain's Socialist Premier Felipe Gonzalez and had been keenly awaited by U.S. diplomats here. Gonzalez is recognized as knowledgeable about Central America, an area he has visited frequently representing the Socialist International, and he is a close friend of leading Latin American political figures.
The statement expressed strong support for the peace initiative but held back from making a formal offer of mediation. Senior Spanish officials have stressed in the past week that Spain is prepared to mediate should the regional governments request it.
Following the framework of the Contadora Group intitiative, the Spanish government insisted "on the urgent need to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states and their borders' inviolability as well as to reject the threat or use of force in international relations."
A senior Spanish official said Gonzalez had in recent weeks been in "continual telephone contact" with the peace initiative sponsors and with Central American leaders.
The Spanish premier's expertise and personal contacts in the area have in recent months been publicly acknowledged by U.S. officials, and U.S. diplomatic sources here said last night that a stand by Gonzalez on Central America would be "useful and significant."
A crucial factor in the regional conference envisaged by Gonzalez is the presence of Cuba. The Spanish leader has stressed in private to senior U.S. officials his belief that relations between Washinton and Havana should be "normalized."
Gonzalez is to visit Colombia, Panama and Venezuela next month, and Mexico may be added to his itinerary. In late June, Gonzalez is due to visit Washington.