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U.N. Chief Says CIA Influence Scandal Should Not Halt Peace Efforts

April 4, 1995

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said Monday that a scandal over CIA influence in Guatemala is an obstacle to peace, but should not halt efforts to end the country’s 34-year civil war.

Meanwhile, a rebel commander denied involvement in a bombing Sunday night two blocks from the presidential residence where Boutros-Ghali was meeting with President Ramiro de Leon Carpio.

The explosion killed one person and wounded another. Army Maj. Edith Vargas, a military spokeswoman, said the dead man was Carlos Ixcot, a 35-year-old economist. She said he was linked to the guerrilla forces.

``Once again they are trying to make it look like the URNG (the rebel force) is responsible for these actions to try to disrupt the peace process,″ rebel commander Pablo Monsanto said at a news conference in Mexico City.

Boutros-Ghali’s visit is tied to efforts to end Central America’s last civil war _ a conflict that has killed some 120,000 but is now relatively quiet.

``To achieve peace is more difficult than to have a war, but with political will and with the support of the international community we will be successful in promoting national reconciliation,″ Boutros-Ghali said at a military airport Monday at the end of his overnight visit.

He said the uproar caused by claims by Rep. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., that a Guatemalan colonel was on the CIA payroll and was involved in at least two murders would not halt attempts to end the conflict.

``Nothing will diminish either the support of the international community or the political will of the government of Guatemala to achieve national reconciliation,″ Boutros-Ghali said.

Torricelli says Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez ordered the 1990 murder of Michael Devine, a U.S. citizen and innkeepr in Guatemala. Alpirez has denied responsibility in the death.

Alpirez has also been accused of directing the torture and murder in 1992 of Guatemalan guerrilla commander Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, who was married to American lawyer Jennifer Harbury.

On Friday, the Guatemalan government and members of the rebel coalition signed an agreement on Indian rights _ one of a series of pacts meant to lead to a final peace treaty that officials hope can be signed this year.

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