MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Nicaragua became the second Central American nation to offer military aid to Argentina in its battle for the Falkland Islands and called on the United States to improve relations with Managua.
Deputy Foreign Minister Victor Hugo Tinoco told reporters Friday that Nicaragua will provide military aid if Argentina asks for it. Guatemala's military junta made the same offer earlier this week.
'Our country is disposed to cooperate in the military field with the Argentine cause of recovering the Falklands. In any case, the Argentines will have the last word about accepting this offer,' Tinoco said.
Guatemalan junta President Efrain Rios Montt Wednesday pledged to rush 350 combat troops to the Falklands if Argentina requested the aid, offering the Guatemala's air force for transporting the troops if needed.
Tinoco also said his government is waiting for the U.S. response to their offers to improve relations with Washington.
'The ball is in the hands of the United States. It's on their side of the field. We're still waiting for any type of answer,' he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Anthony Quainton said in April the United States will soon take direct steps to improve relations with Managua. U.S. newspapers reported that meetings would be held in Mexico City but they failed to materialize.
Quainton left Managua for Washington Friday, pledging he would seek aid for 100,000 Nicaraguan refugees left homeless by torrential rains. The United States has given $25,000 to the Nicaraguan Red Cross and donated food worth another $25,000.
In a news conference after meeting with the head of Nicaragua's national disaster agency, Quainton said Managua officials have asked the United States to renew a program for low-interest loans to purchase food.
The Reagan administration suspended the program and virtually all other U.S. aid to Nicaragua, charging its leftist government was supplying weapons to guerrillas in neighboring El Salvador.
The national disaster agency announced this week Argentina has offered to donate 7 thousand tons of wheat and corn to feed the Nicaraguan homeless.