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Opposition Parties Quit Salvador Peace Panel

November 14, 1987|United Press International

SAN SALVADOR — Eight opposition parties withdrew Friday from a panel formed to implement a Central American peace plan, accusing President of "polarizing" the nation.

In a letter of withdrawal from the National Reconciliation Commission read by representative Alfred Cristiani at a news conference, the parties said: "We have seen the irresponsible and unilateral way your (Duarte's) government has sought to comply with the agreement.

"In our opinion, far from promoting the reconciliation of various sectors of society, your government has polarized them even more, generating more violence and insecurity, setting back our people's hope for peace.

"For that reason, we irrevocably withdraw from participating in the commission," the letter concluded.

Blow to Government

The move is a blow to the Duarte government, which has sought to portray itself as having complied with the regional peace plan signed Aug. 7 in Guatemala by five Central American presidents.

The plan calls for a regional cease-fire, democratization and free elections and an amnesty for combatants. The first phase of the plan went into effect Nov. 5.

It also called for the setting up of a commission for national reconciliation in each of the five countries to implement the accord. A member from the government, coupled with an auxiliary representative and members from the opposition, the Roman Catholic Church and key sectors of society were assigned to the commission.

In the letter, the parties criticized Duarte's decision to call a 15-day unilateral cease-fire with leftist rebels and his handling of the National Election Commission.

Cristiani is the head of the far-right Nationalist Republican Alliance, the country's second-largest party after Duarte's Christian Democrats.

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