Date: Sun, 20 Sep 98 13:27:31 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Centr-Am News 9/14-9/19/98
Article: 43630
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** reg.nicaragua: 32.0 **/
** Topic: Centr-Am News 9/14-9/19/98 **
** Written 5:24 PM Sep 19, 1998 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **

Minugua Head Says Peace Process is Bogged Down

Centr-Am News, Vol.XXVI, week of Sept. 13–19 1998

Frenchman Jean Arnault, head of the U.N Verification Mission in Guatemala, known as Minugua, warned that some aspects of the Guatemalan peace process appear to be stagnating. The process was begun on December 29, 1996, with the signing of the peace agreements by the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) and the government of President Alvaro Arzu.

There are two general themes that are bogged down, he said, the constitutional and the economic, and from there derive questions of the judicial system and the military. While these do not advance, there is a debt weighing over the peace process. Arnault explained, Financial reform is the sustenance of peace. The agreements are a dead letter if there is no economic support, while the changes to the Constitution offer legal support. He warned that if no changes were made and approved by the end of this year, such changes may take many more years to be accomplished. If the changes are not carried out according to the pre-arranged time schedule, said Arnault, the international community will be convinced that the peace process has not penetrated the country.

In addition to the problems cited by Arnault, other observers cite the problem of land distribution and ownership and the situation of the indigenous population, more than half the Guatemalan people, as problems that have not advanced within the peace process.

Arnault said Guatemala is going through its trial by fire and it is to be seen if the Guatemalan people are united or divided. If there is no consensus, he said, it will be difficult for the areas of justice, the situation of the indigenous people and the economic question to advance in practical terms. (La Prensa on the Web from AFP, San Pedro Sula, 9/14/98; Agencia Informativa Amarc-Pulsar, 9/14/98; )