Jan 11 - Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega urges Israel to destroy its nuclear arms at a ceremony inaugurating his second consecutive term in office. Travis Brecher reports.
Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega on Tuesday urged Israel to destroy its nuclear weapons to foster peace in the Middle East. He made his statements while hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Amhadinejad and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Speaking at a ceremony where he was sworn in for a second consecutive term in office, Ortega attacked the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, condemned the killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and offered a brief valediction to executed Iraqi premier Saddam Hussein. Ortega also defended Iran's stated intention to develop atomic energy - a move Western powers say is a cover for a nuclear weapons program. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT DANIEL ORTEGA, SAYING: "Think about it! To those who have nuclear weapons, there is no one who calls upon them because they do so. On the contrary, to those who are developing nuclear energy for peaceful means, these are the ones who are blamed and threatened because they do so." Sixty-six-year-old Ortega suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in 2010 after Israeli commandos staged a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad is on a trip visiting leftist leaders in Latin America known for their antagonism to the United States. Ortega has shrugged off opposition complaints his re-election was illegal and vowed to govern with moderation. Travis Brecher, Reuters