Sun, Nov 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Ties solid, says Nicaragua's UN ambassador

STAFF WRITER , WITH AGENCIES

Nicaragua plans to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan and will invite President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to the inauguration of president-elect Daniel Ortega in January, the Central News Agency (CNA) said on Friday, quoting Nicaragua's ambassador to the UN, Eduardo Sevilla Somoza.

Sevilla reassured Taiwan that there won't be major changes in Nicaragua's foreign policy when the new government is formed next January, so there won't be immediate changes in Nicaragua-Taiwan ties.

"Our two countries have maintained friendly ties and had good cooperation, so we will continue this cooperation in future," she said in an interview with CNA in New York on Friday.

"We will invite President Chen to attend the January 10 inauguration of president-elect Ortega," she said.

Sevilla said that after Ortega's Sandinista government won the presidential election on Nov. 8, "there are two forces of power in Nicaragua which are competing against and cooperating with each other."

"When the new government is formed in January, there will be personnel and some policy changes, but no major changes," she said.

Ortega said before the election that if he won, he would switch recognition from Taiwan to China to meet the needs of the Nicaraguan business sector.

A concerned Taiwan sent Vice Foreign Minister Hou Ching-shan (侯清山) to Nicaragua to consolidate ties.

Nicaragua is one of the 24 countries that recognize Taiwan, but Taipei is worried that the ties may become shaky with Ortega's return to power.

Hou, in a meeting late last Thursday with leaders of Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front, said Taiwan will keep investing in Nicaragua under Ortega's government.

"We believe we will keep working together to widen our traditional relations of friendship and cooperation," Hou said.

Nicaragua recognized Beijing in 1985 after Ortega's first election. However, former President Violeta Chamorro broke with Beijing and re-established ties with Taiwan after defeating Ortega in 1990.

Taiwan has since helped Nicaragua build a new presidential building and a new foreign ministry among other things.

After meeting with Hou, Ortega said they had discussed the new government's plans to end poverty, improve medical care, create jobs and ensure electricity supplies.

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