SAN SALVADOR, JAN. 14 -- Amid last-minute diplomatic manuevering over the regional peace plan, Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte has lashed out at the International Verification Commission established under the plan and said he would oppose extending deadlines for fulfilling the pact.
In a brief press conference today, Duarte admitted U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels had operated out of El Salvador but said he had shut down all of their operations. "Here there are no command posts, no communications, nothing," Duarte said. "Those that exisited, I personally ordered dismantled because they were established against my will."
Duarte has accused Nicaragua's leftist government of aiding El Salvador's Marxist-led insurgency in violation of the accord.
The presidents of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua are to meet Friday in San Jose, Costa Rica, to evaluate the results of the plan. According to a presidential spokesman, Duarte met last night with two leaders of the contras, then with special U.S. envoy Morris Busby and today with five U.S. congressmen.
In a brief television interview last night, Duarte also lashed out the 15-member commission, which is to issue a document saying whether each country has complied. The government was outraged when the commission gave the official delegation only 10 minutes to lay out its point of view, while spending more than 12 hours listening to opposition groups.
"That seemed infantile to me, a lack of respect, and at the same time a lack of impartiality in what the commission was doing," Duarte said. The commission later said it cut the presentation short because it had ample written material from the government, but had not heard from the opposition.