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Nicaragua Tells Rumsfeld It Will Destroy Missiles

Nicaragua says it will destroy hundreds of Soviet-era surface-to-air missiles that Washington fears could fall into the hands of terrorists.

President Enrique Bolanos told a joint news conference Friday in Managua with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the remaining weapons would be destroyed within 18 months. He said Nicaragua does not want U.S. financial compensation for doing so.

Mr. Rumsfeld described Nicaragua as a strong and resolute partner in the global war against terrorism.

In the 1980s, Nicaragua's Sandinista government received the weapons from the former Soviet Union to fight Contra rebels.

Mr. Rumsfeld flew to Nicaragua from El Salvador, where he awarded medals of valor to six Salvadoran soldiers credited with saving the lives of several Coalition Authority officials in Iraq. The final two stops of his Latin America tour are to Panama and Ecuador.