The Nicaraguan government and civic groups on Friday agreed to halt all violence, in a major step to end two months of political unrest that has left 170 dead and rocked the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Ortega, however, did not address a call by Catholic church mediators to allow for early elections next year to defuse the gravest political crisis since the country ended a U.S.-fueled civil war in 1990. His third consecutive presidential term is scheduled to end in 2021.
“The end of all violence is a basic necessity. Nicaraguans don’t need any more violence,” Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, who is the head government negotiator, told reporters.
Both sides will resume talks on Saturday to address the Church’s proposal to anticipate general elections and implement political reforms.
The protests that began on April 18 have also left hundreds injured and ground the economy of the impoverished Central American nation to a halt.