Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Meeting Between President Reagan and President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica

June 17, 1987

President Reagan said in a meeting with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias today that the United States and Costa Rica share the same objective in Nicaragua: free, competitive, and regularly scheduled elections allowing the Nicaraguan people to elect their own leaders. The President said that the United States welcomes the initiative introduced by President Arias last February but noted that there remain concerns about specific parts of the plan. The greatest concern is the need for the Sandinistas to act on genuine democratization before pressure on the regime is removed in any way.

The President said he hoped that the Central American democracies will work together in the weeks ahead to strengthen the democratic aspects of the Arias plan. He said that the focus of the initiative on democracy in Nicaragua is the key to peace in Central America. The President said that the United States will continue to apply pressure on the Sandinista regime to democratize and his administration remains fully committed to obtaining renewed funding from the Congress for the Nicaraguan democratic resistance. The President met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias for approximately 1 hour.