President Francois Mitterrand of France has one problem less to worry about these days--if anyone bothered to inform the Elysee Palace that Lijar decided last month formally to end its 100-year-old war with the French.
Lijar is hard to find on a map and difficult to reach, an isolated cluster of whitewashed houses perched on a slope and surrounded by a gray slate landscape that forms the Sierra de los Filabres.
It is a bit of an oasis, shaded by fig trees, almond and olive groves, and two hours' drive inland along a winding potholed road from Almeria on Spain's southeastern Mediterranean coast.
War? Well, no shot was actually fired, nor a prisoner ever taken. In fact, nobody seems to recall even the odd French tourist making it to the village.
"But we were in a state of war," says village schoolmaster Ezequiel Campos, "and everyone here knew about it. It's been handed down from parents to children, a sort of oral tradition."
The peace treaty is real enough. The ceremony took place in Lijar's only square--it used to be called Plaza Generalissimo Franco but it has suitably been renamed Plaza de la Paz (Peace Square).
Tradition has it that a century ago Lijar's mayor was infuriated that a mob in Paris had insulted the Spanish king, Alfonso XII, who was paying a state visit to France. Pride is a high priority for Spaniards and mayor Miguel Garcia said, "Enough!"
He called a village council meeting in October 1883 and the minutes of the assembly make stirring reading: "Our King Alfonso, when passing through Paris on the 29th day of September was stoned and offended in the most cowardly fashion by miserable hordes of the French nation."
Garcia's passion emerges from the faded sheets of the prized document in the village archives. Although Lijar was "the most insignificant of all the villages in the Sierra de los Filabres," that was no reason for inaction.
The mayor reminded his listners that when Napoleon's troops invaded Spain at the start of the 19th century, "just one woman, who was old, wretched and bedraggled but a daughter of Spain nonetheless, had on her own cut the throat of 32 Frenchmen who were billeted in her home."
Therefore, the mayor moved: "The example of this women is enough to let the inhabitants of France fear that this village of Lijar, although its has only l00 able men, proposes to declare war on all of France, since one man of this our village is worth 10,000 Frenchmen."
The meeting unanimously carried the war motion, announcing the decision to the Spanish government and duly informing the president of the French Republic.
"Nothing much ever happened here since war was declared," says present Mayor Diego Sanchez, until the idea for the recent peace treaty came along. At least one of Lijar's 580 inhabitants refused to extend the olive branch to France.
"I see no justification for signing peace," said postman Pedro Martin. A man who follows the news closely, Martin justified his stand by citing French opposition to Spain's entry into the European Common Market and the presence of Basque separatist terrorists in France.
But Mayor Sanchez was adamant: "One hundred years is a solid-enough date to end all this. Stopping a war can't be a bad thing nowadays, can it?" Jean Francois Thiollier, a diplomat at the French Embassy in Madrid, agreed: "We find it all rather amusing but it's nice to have someone making peace."