Representatives of the Colombian government and the M-19 guerrillas who seized the Dominican Republic Embassy here 59 days ago met twice today amid growing optimism that an end to the embassy takeover would come this weekend or Monday.
Both government and diplomatic sources said they expected the guerrillas to decide soon on a draft agreement worked out this week under the auspices of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which apparently was invited to Colombia at M-19 insistence.
A 24th round of talks was scheduled for Saturday. A source familiar with the negotiations said the two sides had still not agreed on how much money the guerrillas would receive in exchange for the 16 diplomatic hostages they held.
The draft settlement was negotiated with the commission serving as intermediary among the guerrillas inside the embassy, the government and other members of the M-19 under arrest and in a prison here. The rights group has agreed to leave behind observers "for months or years, if necessary," according to a commission source, to monitor the ongoing military trials of 250 Columbians charged with subversion or other politically related crimes.
The guerrillas are expected to receive about $5 million from unofficial sources, such as "friends" of the hostage ambassadors, as part of the proposed accord.
Guerrillas at the embassy and at least five of their hostages -- among them U.S. Ambassador Diego Asencio -- are expected to leave for Cuba if the accord is reached. The hostages would be released in Havana.