Nicaragua government, opposition agree on 'roadmap' for talks

Managua (AFP) –


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's leftist government and the opposition have agreed a "roadmap" for extended peace talks to resolve 10 months of crisis sparked by a deadly crackdown on dissent in which hundreds of people were killed.

The breakthrough was announced late Tuesday by Vatican ambassador to Nicaragua, Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, after five days of talks in the capital Managua.

"The roadmap was approved," Sommertag, who participated in the talks, told a press conference alongside Foreign Minister Denis Moncada.

Both sides invited representatives of the Catholic and Evangelical churches to act as "witnesses" to the talks, which are set to conclude on March 28.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Managua, Leopoldo Brenes, said he would respond to the invitation on Friday after consulting bishops. The Catholic Church mediated a previous round of peace talks that collapsed in June 2018.

The opposition has demanded a wider international presence, including representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, to ensure compliance with any agreement adopted during talks.

The government side opposed this, but as part of the roadmap agreement both sides said guarantors would be designated once an agenda is approved.

"We need the presence of organizations that give confidence and transparency to the dialogue, both to the participants and to the population," Alliance delegate Ernesto Medina told AFP.