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Region to Celebrate Anniversary of Peace Accords

Tuesday will mark the 20th anniversary of a regional peace accord orchestrated by President Oscar Arias during his first term to help end years of military conflict in Central America. All the original signers except Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega will celebrate Wednesday at a summit in San José.

The peace plan, signed Aug. 7, 1987, by leaders of all the Central American countries except Panama and Belize, called for national reconciliation, cessation of hostilities, amnesty decrees, free elections, democratization and assistance for refugees, among other things (TT, Aug. 14, 1987).

Arias, who returned to power last year 20 years after being elected President the first time, won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in drafting the plan.

At the Aug. 8 summit, organized by the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, which the head of state founded  with his Nobel Prize money, the Central American leaders will discuss challenges facing the region today. Topics may include delinquency, drug trafficking, education and trade, said Casa Presidencial spokesman Esteban Arrieta. Arias and four other Presidents have confirmed their assistance: Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, Oscar Berger of Guatemala, Elías Antonio Saca of El Salvador and Martín Torrijos of Panama.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he can not come because he has a meeting that day with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Relations between Arias and Ortega are chilly. The Nicaraguan President has questioned whether Arias deserves the Nobel Prize, and earlier this year said the anniversary celebration should take place in Guatemala City, where the accords were signed (TT,May 25).



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