MANAGUA, Nicaragua: Russian troops, planes and ships are to be allowed to be use Nicaragua bases for purposes of training, law enforcement or emergency requests by the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

The presence of small contingents of Russian troops for "exchange of experiences and training," was also authorized by the Nicaraguan government.

Maria Zakharova, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, told the Russian news outlet Sputnik that the measure was "routine."

"We are talking about a routine, twice a year procedure for the adoption of a Nicaraguan law on the temporary admission of foreign military personnel to its territory in order to develop cooperation in various areas, including humanitarian and emergency responses, combatting organized crime and drug trafficking," she said.

Russian Troops in Nicaragua. Big News Network.com

The law also authorizes troops from the U.S., Mexico and other Central American countries for such purposes, she added.

Since his days in the leadership of the 1979 revolution that ousted dictator Anastasio Somoza, Ortega has been an ally of Russia, serving as president from 1985 to 1990 before being re-elected to power in 2007.

Many political opposition leaders, including most potential presidential candidates, were arrested in the months before Ortega's re-election to a fourth consecutive term last year.

Many non-governmental groups that he accuses of working on behalf of foreign interests to destabilize Ortega's government have been shut down, and tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have been forced into exile.

Patabook World News