Delay threatens Salvador peace: Ruben Zamora, a prominent left-wing politician, talks to Elizabeth Nash about the precarious state of the deal signed to end the 12-year-old civil war

EL SALVADOR, which has been labouring for nine months to implement a UN-brokered peace accord, may not meet the deal's most crucial deadline - for the demobilisation of guerrilla forces - by 31 October as planned.

The left-wing leader, Ruben Zamora, vice-president of the legislative assembly and a pivotal figure in the negotiated peace process warned in London this week: 'No one is saying so publicly, but we have to recognise that 31 October is a date impossible to fulfil.'

Mr Zamora, once a Christian Democrat minister in a short-lived reformist government in 1980, fled into a seven-year exile after his brother was gunned down at home and his own name appeared on a death list. He returned to El Salvador in 1987, was elected to parliament in March last year and now leads the Democratic Convergence, a left-wing bloc.

'If we delay the demobilisation of the FMLN (the coalition of guerrilla groups), then we delay the clean-up of the armed forces, the separation of the police from the army and the integration of military forces into civilian life,' he said, 'and these military matters take up 85 per cent of the peace accord document.'

The peace accord signed in January, which marked the end of El Salvador's 12-year civil war, set out an ambitious timetable to take the country from a state of war through to a ceasefire, and eventually to elections in March 1994. It was a moment that Mr Zamora, a man who conveys the impression simultaneously of passionate urgency and infinite patience, had been awaiting for 20 years.

A few months' delay would not derail the delicate peace process, he said, but a delay of more than six months could scupper the agreement. It would affect the election timetable, which is dictated by the constitution. 'Everybody agrees that the FMLN cannot go into an election campaign still under arms. And we can't change the election date without constitutional interference.'

Mr Zamora blames President Alfredo Cristiani's conservative Arena government for dragging its heels from the moment the peace accord was signed. 'The government cannot reject the agreement or say it will not implement it, but it has tried to go as slowly as it can,' he said. The FMLN, whose military invincibility brought Arena to the negotiating table in the first place, are reluctant to lay down their arms before the military have fulfilled their promise to reform.

Despite the race against time, Mr Zamora believes the agreement will, in the end, be fulfilled. 'The government were reluctant because they believed, mistakenly, that the FMLN would just fall apart after the ceasefire, but they won't disarm unless they get what they want. The government now recognises this, and I think they will start to stick to the timetable.'

The United Nations Secretary- General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, hailed the Salvador peace accord as a 'negotiated revolution'. This was an exaggeration, Mr Zamora said. 'Negotiation is not a revolution. We have not achieved a revolution. But we have achieved the possibility to continue the struggle and make advances.'

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits