Peru, Ecuador Agree to Cease-Fire Terms
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Negotiators for Peru and Ecuador agreed this morning on cease-fire terms in their clash over a disputed section of remote jungle on their border, Brazil’s acting foreign minister said.
``We reached an accord that was approved by everyone,″ said an elated Foreign Minister Sebastiao do Rego Barros. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the United States were involved in the talks in Rio de Janeiro.
The two countries are battling over a 50-mile stretch of border region about 530 miles north of Lima, Peru’s capital. The area has gold, uranium and possibly oil deposits.
Barros did not give details of the agreement. He said it had been sent to the governments of Ecuador and Peru for study.
Barros said the delegates would meet again this afternoon, ``when we hope to receive final approval of the accord and we can put an end to this senseless war.″
The agreement came at the end of a third straight all-night session at Itamaraty Palace, the foreign ministry’s office in Rio. For a while, it seemed doubtful the delegates from Peru and Ecuador would even talk.
The two remained in separate rooms at the palace, while delegates of the other countries acted as go-betweens. After two days, they finally agreed to sit at the same table Thursday.
``For the first time since the beginning we worked together the whole night, with all six representatives at the table,″ Barros said.
Presidents Sixto Duran-Ballen of Ecuador and Alberto Fujimori of Peru said earlier they wanted a cease-fire, but diplomats couldn’t agree on the procedure.
Julio Freyre, an Argentine diplomat, said Thursday that Ecuador agreed to Peru’s demands for a demilitarized zone along the border with independent observers.
But he said the Peruvians held out for details, such as how far and how fast troops must pull back from the combat zone. At one point, Barros admitted, delegates had been on the verge of giving up.
President Clinton wrote to the presidents of both nations Thursday urging an immediate cease-fire, press secretary Mike McCurry said in a statement.
``The United States is prepared to participate in a mission to observe a cease-fire once one is in place,″ press secretary Mike McCurry said in a statement.
The area where Peru and Ecuador are fighting is thick jungle that covers the Cordillera del Condor mountains. The rainy season has made the situation all the worse.
Peru’s military commander, Gen. Nicolas Hermoza, said 49 soldiers _ 43 of them Ecuadoreans _ were killed Wednesday and Thursday.
Hermoza said that Peruvian units succeeded Thursday in ousting Ecuadorean forces from a military post known as Base Sur.
Ecuador, which claims the bases are on its side of the border, said Peru attacked several border posts but that its forces ``remained unmovable.″ It said only one Ecuadorean was wounded and one was missing.
The conflicting reports were indicative of the conflict, in which each country has accused the other of starting the fighting by crossing into its territory.
Officially Peru admits 11 of its soldiers have been killed since the fighting began in earnest Jan. 26, while Ecuador said six of its men had died.
Peruvian state television reported Thursday night that a mobile hospital, 100 doctors and tons of medical supplies were sent to Bagua, the Peruvian military’s staging area about 135 miles south of the fighting.