SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA, OCT. 28 -- Nicaragua will adopt a broad new political amnesty law in time for the Nov. 5 deadline for a Central American peace plan, but will not declare a unilateral cease-fire nationwide or lift its state of emergency throughout the country by then, Nicaraguan officials and diplomats said.
Details of the leftist Sandinista government's plans for meeting the terms of the peace accord in time for the fast-approaching deadline emerged in two days of meetings here among the five Central American foreign ministers.
In a harmonious but only modestly productive final meeting, the foreign ministers tonight agreed not to postpone the deadline, when the pact's main points are to begin to take effect. The agreement calls for amnesty for political prisoners and armed rebels, dialogue between governments and opposition groups, a regional cease-fire and an end to foreign aid to rebel armies.
The ministers also agreed that an international verification commission can begin to assess each country's compliance as of Nov. 5. However, they also indicated that the process of deciding whether all five countries have complied may not culminate until the five presidents meet again after Jan. 14.
The ministers agreed that each country would issue its own version of a call to foreign governments to cease aid to guerrilla armies in the region.
Honduras and its neighbor, Nicaragua, aired differences over the extent and pacing of the accord's measures. Honduran Foreign Minister Carlos Lopez Contreras insisted that the pact requires a negotiated cease-fire between the Sandinista government and U.S.-backed Nicaraguan rebels, as well as an "unconditional" political amnesty in Nicaragua and a complete end to the state of emergency there.
Nicaragua said it will carry out the cease-fire and end the five-year-old state of emergency in gradual steps. Nicaraguan officials said the government is likely to lift the emergency restrictions by geographic zones, beginning with regions less affected by operations of the U.S.-backed rebels, known as contras.