MEXICO CITY, OCT. 1 -- Salvadoran government and rebel representatives met today to prepare for peace negotiations Sunday between four top rebel leaders and Salvadoran President Jose Napeoleon Duarte, according to spokesmen for both sides.
Ruben Zamora, one of the four leaders chosen to represent the rebels, said he planned to participate in the meeting with Duarte Sunday in San Salvador. He told Washington Post Correspondent Julia Preston at his office in Managua that the preliminary talks today in Guatemala had been "relatively constructive."
Earlier, plans for the peace talks had been thrown into confusion amid maneuvering by the government and the leftist rebel alliance to which Zamora belongs.
Angered by statements from President Jose Napoleon Duarte Tuesday, the rebel alliance of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and the Democratic Revolutionary Front yesterday announced the suspension of the preparatory meeting and accused Duarte of endangering the negotiations scheduled for Sunday. The rebel statement came after delegations that were to represent the two sides in the preliminary talks gathered in different Central American countries because of a last-minute hitch about the site.
While the rebels were indicating earlier today that the date and place of the negotiations was in doubt, Salvadoran government sources said the talks would be held as scheduled, as they were in Guatemala.
The meeting Sunday, called to discuss the implementation of a regional peace plan signed Aug. 7 by the five Central American presidents, would mark the first talks between the government and the rebels since 1984. A major topic for discussion would be a cease-fire in the 8-year-old war as called for in the peace plan.
The plan sets a deadline of 90 days from signing for the implementation of cease-fires, amnesties, democratic reforms and other measures.
Today, the rebels announced that Guillermo Ungo and Zamora, the president and vice president of the Democratic Revolutionary Front, and FMLN guerrilla commanders Schafik Handal and Leonel Gonzalez would represent the rebels in the talks.