SAN SALVADOR — President Napoleon Duarte refused Friday to order a Christmas truce in the eight-year-old Salvadoran war against leftist rebels despite a plea from Archbishop Arturo Rivera y Damas.
"It isn't worth it because in the last three years the guerrillas have not respected the truce," Duarte said during a graduation ceremony for new recruits at the Gerardo Barrios military school.
Last year, both sides agreed to a Christmas truce, but the rebels did not respect it and attacked military bases, Duarte said.
"Nor can we agree to a unilateral truce, because during the 20-day November cease-fire, the guerrillas continued to attack military bases," Duarte said.
A negotiated cease-fire is called for in the Central American peace plan signed by five of the region's presidents in Guatemala on Aug. 7.