Swedish prime minister arrives in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme arrived in Nicaragua Thursday for meetings with leaders of the leftist Sandinista government, which his country supports, and opposition groups.

Palme was met at the airport by Sandinista officials, but made no statement except to say he would meet with leaders of opposition political parties, independent labor unions and the private sector.


The Socialist prime minister flew to Nicaragua after winding up a four-day visit to Mexico.

His visit is the first to Nicaragua by a European head of government since the Marxist-led Sandinistas took power in 1979, overthrowing former dictator Anastasio Somoza.

The Swedish government has financially supported the Sandinista regime since it took power, with aid increasing significantly since Palme was elected in 1982.

Palme planned a Thursday afternoon meeting with Daniel Ortega, coordinator of the ruling junta, which was expected to center on turmoil in Central America and the Nicaraguan economy.

Palme is scheduled to travel Friday to the city of Rivas, 70 miles south of Managua, to participate at the inauguration of a hospital before leaving for Costa Rica.

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