Salvadoran Peace Accord Will Be Signed

SALVADORAN government and rebel negotiators early Jan. 14 annnounced they had settled all issues for a peace agreement, clearing the way for a formal signing in Mexico City on Jan. 16.

They ended their four-day marathon negotiations by setting a complicated timetable for reducing the estimated 55,000-member Salvadoran Army and demobilizing guerrilla forces of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).

A weary UN mediator, Assistant Secretary-General Alvaro de Soto, said of the 21-month negotiations: "They were laborious but profoundly satisfactory."

Most of the issues had been settled in an agreement signed on Dec. 31 that paved the way for an end to the country's 12-year civil war, which has cost 75,000 lives, most of them civilian.

Both sides signed a short statement saying they had reached agreement on "all issues that were left pending" and thus cleared the way toward signing the peace accord.

Schafik Handal, a commander for the FMLN, said he had contacted combatants in the hills to share his joy at the end of the talks. He also said the Cuban officials, who had supported the FMLN, would be at the Mexico City signing along with UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, United States Secretary of State James Baker III, and others.

Details of the agreement were not revealed but sources said the two sides had set about 100 different dates for implementing their peace agreement.

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