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US special representative for central Asia & Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen talks with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (not in picture) during their meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2015. EPA/HEDAYATULLAH AMID
US special representative for central Asia & Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen talks with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (not in picture) during their meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2015. EPA/HEDAYATULLAH AMID

US House passes bill to halt aid to Nicaragua

The United States is the main destination for Nicaragua's exports and is the main source of its remittances, which reach up to 6 percent of gross domestic…

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The United States House of Representatives Tuesday approved the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act 2017 (Nica), a bill designed to limit financial aid from international institutions to the Central American country until it holds free, fair and transparent elections.

Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrat  Albio Sires said that the US Congress unanimously endorsed the bill.

The bill will be passed to the US Senate for further debate and evaluation.

The main opposition party was prevented from participating in the election last year in which President Daniel Ortega won his third consecutive term in office and his fourth in total.

The objective of the "Nica Act" is to instruct the US Administration to oppose the granting of loans to the government of Daniel Ortega, worth from 250 million to 300 million dollars annually, except for humanitarian reasons or to promote democracy.

"We consider this bill a violation of Nicaragua's sovereignty, and a denial of all political, social, cultural and economic processes in our homeland," said Rosario Murillo, vice president and first lady of Nicaragua.

The Nicaraguan government reiterated its "commitment to democracy", while calling the "Nica Act" an "irrational, offensive and damaging action against the human rights of Nicaraguans", in a statement read by Murillo.

The United States is the main destination for Nicaragua's exports and is the main source of its remittances, which reach up to 6 percent of gross domestic product, while US investments generate about 300,000 jobs in the Central American country. 

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