News In Brief

Nicaragua asks court to halt US covert operations

Nicaragua charged Wednesday that the United States carried out ''savage, brutal acts'' to try to overthrow its leftist Sandinista government. It asked the World Court to order Washington to stop covert operations against it.

In his opening statement at preliminary hearings on Nicaragua's case against the United States, Carlos Arguello, representing the Sandinista regime, claimed the US government ''flagrantly violated international law'' by supporting rebel Nicaraguan forces based in neighboring Central American nations.

Mr. Arguello said Nicaragua urgently needed the court to impose interim measures to protect the nation because insurgent activity had increased this month.

Nicaragua has asked the International Court of Justice to declare that the United States has violated international law by aiding the rebels and by supervising the mining of Nicaraguan ports.

It is also seeking the payment of reparations for ''damages to persons, property, and the Nicaraguan economy'' caused by the alleged actions of the United States.

On April 9, before Nicaragua's petition to the World Court was filed, the US State Department announced it would not recognize the court's jurisdiction over Central America for two years.

The mining is believed to have ceased after the disclosure that the CIA, with President Reagan's approval, took part in it.

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, US ambassador to the United Nations, and other Reagan administration officials have said the Sandinistas would exploit the World Court for propaganda.

In its court complaint, Nicaragua accused the US government of the ''killing, wounding, and kidnapping of Nicaraguan citizens,'' and charged the US was violating Nicaragua's territorial integrity with ''armed attacks'' on air, land, and sea.

US counsel Davis Robinson told reporters he doubted whether Nicaragua had accepted compulsory jurisdiction. He refused to elaborate, but said he would make this point when the US addressed the court.

After Arguello's presentation the court adjourned. The hearing will resume tomorrow morning, when the US will present its case.

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