President Oscar Arias, who last week attended the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Managua, told the press during his trip that he’s willing to forgive part of Nicaragua’s debt to Costa Rica, incurred in the 1980s.
On Jan. 9, Arias said it would be “difficult” for Costa Rica to forgive the debt, but the following day he clarified his position, explaining that if Spain follows through on a proposal to forgive $58 million of Costa Rica’s debt to that country, Costa Rica would be able to use the funds to forgive Nicaragua the same amount, the daily La Nación reported.
Nicaragua’s debt to Costa Rica totals more than $600 million.
Arias told the daily the country’s debt will be one of the top agenda items when he meets with Ortega. (During the inauguration, the two leaders, who first worked together during their previous terms as head of state of their respective countries in the 1980s, had time only for a handshake.)
Immigration and the development of the poor border region will be the other hot topics, according to Arias.
“It’s in Costa Rica’s interest that this country prosper much more and generate (a higher) level of living,”Arias said of the neighboring country, where the average salary is one-seventh of the Costa Rican average.
“If not, the desire to cross the border will be higher.”