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Salvadoran Officials, Rebels Holding Talks in Mexico

August 21, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

MEXICO CITY — Representatives of the government of El Salvador and of Salvadoran guerrillas began talks in Mexico City on Wednesday evening aimed at renewing negotiations to end the seven-year Salvadoran civil war.

The goal of the private talks here is to set a date and agenda for a third round of stalled peace negotiations. The two previous rounds of talks between the Marxist-led rebels and the U.S.-backed government of President Jose Napoleon Duarte ended without progress and with each side blaming the other for intransigence.

In the past, the rebels from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front have demanded a share of government and the combining of the guerrilla force with the Salvadoran armed forces. The Duarte government has rejected both demands, instead asking the rebels to surrender and join elections as a means of seeking power. There is no indication that these basic conditions have changed.

Mediated by Archbishop

The government delegation was led by Foreign Minister Rodolfo Castillo Claramount and Julio Rey Prendes, the communications minister and confidant of Duarte. The rebels were led by Jorge Villacorta, a member of the rebel diplomatic arm, the Revolutionary Democratic Front and by Salvador Samayoa, representing the guerrillas.

The talks are being mediated by the archbishop of San Salvador, Arturo Rivera y Damas. Both sides were to have begun meeting Wednesday morning, but the late arrival of a commercial plane carrying Castillo postponed the starting time until 5 p.m.

Seven years of warfare have left an estimated 60,000 Salvadorans dead.

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