A Salvadoran rebel official today backed off from statements made yesterday that a meeting was to take place soon between the leftist rebels and the Salvadoran government.
The official, Hector Oqueli, said the meeting had been called off for the moment because President Jose Napoleon Duarte's Christian Democratic Party had named a lower-ranking representative than it had said it would.
Oqueli's statements today left in doubt whether the two sides could agree to hold a meeting, which would come nearly a year after the last formal negotations between the two sides.
Salvadoran Vice President Rodolfo Castillo Claramount announced yesterday in Spain that the meeting had been arranged, and Oqueli subsequently confirmed it. Today, however, it appeared that each side had made the statements knowing that the planned meeting might fall through and hoping that blame then could be pinned on the other side.
The meeting was supposed to consider whether it was possible to set up talks in the future. Oqueli said the government had named as its representative its ambassador to West Germany, Juan Ramirez. This was unsatisfactory, Oqueli said, because the government had agreed previously to send a senior member of the Christian Democratic Party from El Salvador to Europe for the meeting.