Hopes rise for end to Peru hostage crisis
Tokyo and Lima agree to talks with guerrilla group
Monday 03 February 1997
Mr Fujimori said preliminary talks with Tupac Amaru guerrillas occupying the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima would begin soon, with mediators from Canada, Japan, the International Red Cross and the Catholic Church. But his refusal to bow to the rebels' main demand - for the release of 400 jailed comrades - suggested the drama could drag on for weeks. And he warned that if any of the 72 hostages fell ill, he would consider storming the building. Mr Fujimori is to meet the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in Washington today to brief her.
After the 90-minute summit meeting in Toronto, Nestor Cerpa, the leader of the Tupac Amaru guerrillas in the residence, said deadlock continued because they were sticking to their demand for the release of prisoners, while Mr Fujimori had ruled it out.
Diplomats in Lima, however, said Mr Cerpa's tough line may have been for public consumption while, in informal contacts with the authorities, the rebels may be prepared to settle for the release of some leading prisoners or simply better prison conditions. The Tupac Amaru's spokesman in Europe, Isaac Velasco, said yesterday: "We have said from the beginning that our global position is negotiable. We are not going to maintain our global proposal 100 per cent." This appeared to suggest Mr Cerpa, a former textile- union negotiator, might bargain with the government to find a way to get his 14-strong guerrilla unit out of the siege alive, to a jungle hide- out or a country such as Cuba.
In interviews yesterday, Mr Fujimori said that, in the agenda for the coming talks, the rebels had agreed not to mention the demand for the release of their jailed comrades. "For us this is an advance," he said.
Saturday's Toronto meeting was the first time Mr Fujimori and Mr Hashimoto had met since the rebels stormed a diplomatic garden party on 17 December. They apparently chose Canada because its ambassador to Lima, Anthony Vincent, will be on the mediation team and so that neither would be seen to be losing face.
Mr Hashimoto had expressed concern that Mr Fujimori may be leaning towards a military solution.
The Japanese Prime Minister strongly criticised provocative police manoeuvres outside the besieged compound last week, when police taunts led the rebels to fire at an armoured police vehicle.
In Toronto, Mr Fujimori admitted the police actions had been "inappropriate."
But he added: "To the extent that there is no harm to the hostages, no force will be used. But if a single hostage or several hostages are taken ill, that would not satisfy the conditions I have set."
With the siege about to move into its eighth week, the chances of hostages falling sick are growing rapidly.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...
£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...