American Ambassador Visits Salvadoran Rebels
GUAZAPA, El Salvador (AP) _ U.S. Ambassador William Walker visited a rebel stronghold Saturday to promote post-war reconciliation between the guerrillas and the U.S.-funded government they tried to overthrow.
″After the signing of the peace accords, there are no more differences. So I am here to show that,″ Walker told villagers in La Mora on the slopes of Guazapa volcano, 15 miles north of San Salvador.
On Jan. 16, the rebels and Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani signed a peace agreement ending the civil war, which claimed 75,000 lives. The U.N.-brokered accord takes effect Feb. 1.
Walker flew by U.S. military helicopter to the rebel-held area. He was accompanied by Col. Mark Hamilton, chief of the American military group stationed in El Salvador.
They were received by Chano Guevara and Raul Hercules, two commanders of the leftist rebel group, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
The rebels said the ambassador’s visit was an important step in the peace process. The United States funded a successon of governments during the 12- year war.
″Because they were the ones who gave economic funds for the war, we think that the United States could help with the reconstruction,″ Guevara said.
During Walker’s visit, villagers asked for machinery, technical assistance and financial help.