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Algerian Leaders Sign Accord on Reconciliation

September 16, 1996| Reuters

PARIS — Thirty-eight Algerian political, union and other leaders signed a pact Sunday outside Algiers at the end of a disputed national conference intended to pave the way for a multi-party system and general elections next year.

President Liamine Zeroual was shown live on Algerian state television applauding the one female and 37 male signatories at the conference, which was boycotted by two main secular parties and from which radical Islamists were barred.

The accord condemning violence and laying the framework for a multi-party democracy aims to end nearly five years of violence, blamed on fundamentalists, in which about 50,000 people have been killed. Zeroual, who chaired the conference, did not sign the pact--a signal displaying him as a leader above the fractious political scene.

Some observers questioned the impact of the conference attended by 1,000 participants. Mainly unknown politicians were thrust into the limelight to sign the pact.

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