President Bush promised yesterday to lift the trade embargo against Nicaragua if the U.S.-backed presidential candidate, Violeta Chamorro, defeats leftist President Daniel Ortega in the February election. The statement came after Chamorro and Bush met at the White House. At the session yesterday, Chamorro asked Bush for aid to help with economic reconstruction after the election, and the two agreed on the need to muster international support for fair elections, according to U.S. and Nicaraguan participants. The United States spent millions of dollars during the Reagan administration to support the contra rebels in their war to oust Ortega. Bush, while endorsing a diplomatic rather than military approach, has continued calling for Ortega's removal from office. Bush supports Chamorro's candidacy, and he signed a $9 million election aid package that will in large part boost her race. A statement issued by White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk said Chamorro stressed in a letter to Bush that if elected her administration "would be committed to reconcilation . . . and reconstruction of the economy in peace and democracy. "Should this occur, the president said the United States would be ready to lift the trade embargo and assist in Nicaragua's reconstruction," the statement said. The trade embargo imposed in May 1985 bans imports from and exports to Nicaragua. "The president looks forward to the day when, with a democratic government, Nicaraguans will have good political and economic relations with the United States and the rest of the free world and will be able to begin rebuilding after decades of dictatorship," the statement said. Chamorro visited Bush as part of an international trip seeking to focus the global spotlight on Nicaragua's Feb. 25 election. The Sandinista government has said it will propose a new cease-fire to be coupled with demobilization of the U.S.-backed contra rebels. Ortega said he would bring the plan to reinstate the cease-fire that he called off last month to a U.N.-sponsored meeting with the contras in New York. The plan would include a general amnesty once at least 50 percent of the contras have demobilized and the rebels free kidnapped people they hold. Contra leaders met yesterday with Bush administration officials to discuss their approach to the U.N. talks. The U.N. Security Council is sending a 625-member patrol force to stop contras from infiltrating the border from Honduras and to interdict shipments of Nicaraguan and Cuban weapons that the State Department says are being made to leftist rebels in El Salvador.