Mexico criticized the U.S. trade embargo against Nicaragua yesterday and objected indirectly to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's trip to Moscow.
The Mexican criticism came after the Contadora group -- Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama -- reportedly failed to reach a common position on the U.S. embargo. The group has sought for more than two years to negotiate a solution to Central America's conflicts.
Diplomatic sources said the failure resulted from Venezuela's desire to balance its criticism of the U.S. embargo with a simultaneous, explicit criticism of Ortega's trip to the Soviet Union, the diplomatic sources said.
The Mexican statement, which called "economic coercion . . . not compatible with the objectives of the Contadora group," suggested also, while not mentioning it specifically, that the Ortega trip was not a good way "to prevent the Central American conflict from being converted into another element of the East-West confrontation."
Panama is the only Contadora member that has not commented officially on the embargo. Panamanian Foreign Ministry sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a statement planned Friday was shelved following the sudden resignation of President Nicolas Ardito-Barletta's Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Fernando Cardoze, The Associated Press reported.
Cardoze said after his resignation that Panama viewed the embargo as counterproductive.
"The economic measures that the North American government has taken against Nicaragua, like the trip of President Ortega to Moscow, deepen the differences between the United States and Nicaragua, and this, of course, accents the tensions in Central America," he said.
In El Salvador, President Jose Napoleon Duarte said he supported the decision, but Guatemala, which has pursued a line that is more independent of the United States, said that it would not join in the embargo.
Reuter dispatches added the following:
Nicaraguan President Ortega said in Budapest today that his country was ready for "equal talks" with the United States, the official Hungarian news agency MTI reported.
"Ortega stressed his country's readiness for equal talks with the United States and the settlement of bilateral relations," MTI said in a report from Budapest on Ortega's talks with President Pal Losonczi. The MTI report was monitored in Vienna.
Both presidents reaffirmed their support for the Contadora proposal for a political solution in the area, it said. Ortega arrived in Budapest today on a tour that also has taken him to the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania.
In separate talks Ortega and the deputy general secretary of Hungary's communist party, Karoly Nemeth, condemned the U.S. trade embargo against the Central American country, MTI said.
In related developments, Colombia's Foreign Ministry echoed Mexico's call for new talks and repeated criticism of the U.S. embargo.
In Montevideo, Uruguay's recently installed Senate unanimously passed a resolution last night condemning the trade embargo imposed on Nicaragua by the United States. The resolution said the ban violated essential principles of international trade and ran contrary to the four-nation Contadora group's efforts for a negotiated settlement of Central American conflicts.