GUATEMALA: GUATEMALANS PREPARE FOR THE SIGNING OF AN HISTORIC PEACE ACCORD ENDING A BLOODY 36-YEAR CIVIL WAR
- Title: GUATEMALA: GUATEMALANS PREPARE FOR THE SIGNING OF AN HISTORIC PEACE ACCORD ENDING A BLOODY 36-YEAR CIVIL WAR
- Date: 27th December 1996
- Summary: REBEL CAMP AND GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA (DECEMBER 27, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) REBEL CAMP (DECEMBER 27, 1996) 1. SLV/MCU OF GUATEMALAN NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY UNIT (URNG) GUERRILLAS MARCHING AND CHANTING (2 SHOTS) 0.14 2. MCU MASKED GUERRILLA SAYING "WE ARE CALLING ON GUATEMALANS TO SUPPORT THE SIGNING OF THE PEACE AGREEMENT ON THE 29TH. WE, THE MEMBERS OF THE (URNG) WILL BE READY TO BEGIN A NEW ERA OF RECONSTRUCTION IN THIS COUNTRY." (SPANISH) 0.30 3. SV GUERRILLA PASSING OUT PAMPHLETS 0.38 4. MCU CHILDREN PLAYING WITH TOY GUN 0.46 GUATEMALA CITY (DECEMBER 27, 1996) 5. LAS EXTERIOR PRESIDENTIAL PALACE 0.50 6. SV GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT ALVADOR ARZU WALKING ALONG COURTYARD TO CONFERENCE ROOM 0.56 7. LV/SV MEDIA CONFERENCE (2 SHOTS) 1.04 8. MCU ARZU SAYING HE HAD HOPED FOR SUPPORT FROM HUMAN RIGHTS AND OTHER GROUPS AND AN UNCONDITIONAL RESPONSE BECAUSE FOR 36 YEARS THEY HAD BEGGED FOR PEACE IN GUATEMALA (SPANISH) 1.33 9. SLV/SV EXTERIOR PRESIDENTIAL PALACE WITH SCAFFOLDING, LIGHTING AND PLATFORM WHERE SIGNING WILL TAKE PLACE (3 SHOTS) 1.47 10.SLV/CU ARMED SECURITY TROOPS ON GUARD IN CENTRAL SQUARE (2 SHOTS) 1.58 11.SLV/SV POLICE SECURITY IN CITY (4 SHOTS) 2.20 12.GV OVER CITY 2.24 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA3GGL3T1U5MEXPCH6JM9WDJCCJ
- Location: GUATEMALA CITY AND REBEL CAMP, GUATEMALA
- Country: Guatemala
- Duration: 00:02:26
- Story Text: INTRO: Guatemalans are preparing for the signing of an historic peace accord ending a bloody 36-year civil war.
------------------------------------------------------------------ After five years of negotiations, the Guatemalan government and rebels are due to sign on Sunday (December 29) an accord ending their 36-year civil war.
Rebels of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit (URNG) celebrated in a camp on Friday with singing, dancing and parties as if the accord had already been signed.
One said they wanted all Guatemalans to support the signing of the accord and they were ready to begin "a new era of reconstruction" in the country.
Until very recently, the guerrillas would have kept their guns strapped on as they danced and their camps would have been isolated, heavily guarded and secretive.
Guatemalan President Alvaro Arzu has praised both the army and rebels for maintaining the peace process, but criticised some human rights groups for being sceptical about the landmark treaty.
"I didn't find any stumbling blocks put up by the armed forces or the business sector, both of whom had been expected to present some kind of opposition," Arzu said two days before Sunday's gala peace ceremony.
He said commanders of URNG rebels also showed a "positive and constructive attitude".
But Arzu, who moved quickly to end Central America's longest-running guerrilla war after less than 12 months in office, hit out at human rights and other groups, accusing them of double standards for criticising the accords.
"There are other sectors who we had hoped for support and an unconditional response because for 36 years they had begged for peace in Guatemala," he said.
"When they saw it coming closer, they felt they were losing something and they were the ones who put up obstacles -- but they can all be overcome," he added.
During the conflict 140,000 people have died or disappeared, most as a result of brutal military anti-insurgency sweeps. Some groups have accused the army of waging a so-called dirty war against civilians.
Arzu said violence has been endemic for centuries in Guatemala, where about 60 percent of the people are Indians who live in extreme poverty and have long been under the thumb of lighter-skinned overlords backed by the army. He said massacres would not go unpunished.
Arzu played down his personal role in the peace accords, the signing of which is to be attended by heads of states and other leaders from around the world, including outgoing U.N.
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Security was high throughout Guatemala City on Saturday.
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