West German hopes of arranging talks between warring factions in El Salvador appeared to have dissolved today after Salvadoran leaders rejected efforts to bring them to Bonn soon.
The short-lived plan for peace talks, floated this week by spokesmen for the Bonn government and West German political rather than a military solution to El Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte to the world Christian Democratic conference in Brussels next week.
But El Salvador's representatives in Brussels confirmed today that Duarte would not be attending the conference and had postponed any trip to Europe.
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher was hoping to draw Duarte to Bonn to bring him together with Guillermo Ungo, leader of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Front. But Ungo is reported to have declared in Mexico City that he will not meet anywhere with Duarte unless he steps down from the Salvadoran junta.
The idea of hosting a meeting between the two Salvadoran leaders had excited Bonn's two major political parties -- the governing Social Democrats, who have close ties to Ungo, and the conservative opposition Christian Democrats, who have strongly supported the Christian Democrat Duarte's government.
Although Duarte cited domestic reasons for not traveling to Europe, Bonn diplomatic sources suggested the West German government may have dimmed the prospects for useful negotiations by giving so much advance publicity to the plans.
Kurt Becker, the Bonn government spokesman, had said Wednesday that officials here were doing everything possible to bring about a peaceful dialogue between opposing camps in El Salvador. In a press conference today, Becker said the Bonn government regretted that its efforts had apparently failed to bring Duarte to West Germany.
"The government has good reason to believe that the negotiations could have succeeded," Becker said, adding that the opposing sides remained hestitant about talking to each other. Duarte's government has offered to negotiate but the guerrillas, through Ungo, have said they would negotiate only with the U.S. government.
Without the encouragement of the Reagan administration, which has strongly backed the junta, no talks in Bonn are thought possible. Genscher is expected to pursue the idea of a mediating role when he visits Washington March 8.
[In Peking, Agence France-Presse reported, Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua accused the Soviets of interfering in El Salvador, telling Venezuela's visiting foreign minister "the interference and intervention of hegemonists" made the situation "even more turbulent."]