Leaders of the Nicaraguan Contras are meeting with members of Congress on the possibility of a renewal of U.S. military aid for the rebels following the collapse of peace talks with the Sandinista government.
The Contras met Tuesday with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who said the administration will stand by the rebels, although he refused to say whether a resumption of military aid is among the options being considered.House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas, issued a statement expressing opposition to military assistance. House Republican leader Bob Michel of Illinois, a longtime Contra supporter, indicated a reluctance to renew the fight for military aid, suggesting that any such proposal might face defeat.
The failure of the peace talks produced vitriolic attacks by Shultz against the Sandinistas on Tuesday and by Nicaraguan Ambassador Carlos Tunnermann on "extremist elements" within the Contras and the Reagan administration.
Shultz, blaming the Sandinistas for the breakdown of the talks, said their actions have shown the world "that their promises of democratization have no counterpart in concrete action.
"Their consistent and apparent goal has been to disarm and eliminate the resistance so that they can proceed to consolidate their rule in Nicaragua," Shultz said after meeting at the State Department with the Contra leaders.