Nicaragua’s Roman Catholic hierarchy has suspended a dialogue with the government aimed at ending a two-month political crisis.
The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua says the government has not met an agreed requirement to formally invite the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Union to observe the situation.
It says government representatives said they had not been able to ready the invitations.
More than 160 people have been killed since protests began after changes to the social security system in mid-April. They were quickly reversed, but the protests grew to a demand for President Daniel Ortega to step down.
Also Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. government supports a call for early elections. She says attacks on peaceful protesters are unacceptable.
The church’s announcement follows a blood Saturday night which saw eight people die as a result of new protests. The deaths ended a short-lived truce between the government and protest representatives.
President Daniel Ortega and protesters, and civic leaders condemned the violence, which included a firebombing that killed a family of six, while vowing to continue talks.