Church urges El Salvador and former paramilitaries to reach pay settlement
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- San Salvador's Roman Catholic
archbishop urged a settlement Sunday between the government and
thousands of former paramilitary fighters demanding payment for helping
battle leftist rebels in the 1979-92 civil war.
Representatives of some 25,000 former fighters have threatened to launch
wave of protests if Congress refuses to grant them payments of money and
land. Talks between the two sides are to begin Aug. 10.
"I make a call for a true dialogue and that ... the two sides do whatever
possible to resolve the conflict," Archbishop Fernando Saenz told reporters.
The former fighters "suffered, worked and merit true recognition," Saenz
said, adding that "the peace and tranquility of civil life" was at stake.
Since 1993 the ex-fighters -- mostly small-scale farmers and farmworkers
have demanded they be paid at least $2,000 each and given land for helping
the fight the rebels. The 1992 peace accord that ended the war outlined
payments for regular soldiers but not the paramilitary forces.