Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, starting a European tour, said Monday he wanted Europe to help his country normalize its ties with the United States.

"We are not their enemies," Ortega, dressed in battle fatigues, told a news conference. "We want to know exactly what they have against us so we can reply."Ortega, on the first leg of a 10-nation swing through Western Europe, said he would ask French President Francois Mitterrand to speak on behalf of war-battered Nicaragua when he meets President Bush next month in the United States.

Ortega emerged from a more than two-hour lunch with Mitterrand saying: "The president said he was ready to work in favor of peace in the region."