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Nicaragua Will Not Destroy All Soviet-Era Missiles


Nicaragua says it will not destroy its entire stockpile of Soviet-era portable missiles, which Washington says could fall into the hands of rebels or terrorists.

Nicaraguan Defense Minister Jose Adan Guerra said Wednesday he told a U.S. State Department official, Rose Likins, that Nicaragua wants to keep 20 percent of the shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles for defense purposes.

Ms. Likins is leading a team of U.S. officials who went to Nicaragua this week to review progress by the country in destroying its arsenal of surface-to-air missiles. Nicaraguan officials say the U.S. team has been assured the weapons are being stored safely.

So far, Nicaragua has eliminated about half of the estimated 2,000 missiles. Nicaragua's Sandinista government bought the weapons in the 1980s to battle U.S.-backed Contra rebels.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.