Salvador rebels hail UN proposal

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Salvadorean government agreed yesterday to purge its forces by 15 December and rebel leaders agreed to fully dismantle their forces by that date, ending a dispute that had threatened the peace pact.

Salvadorean President Alfredo Cristiani delivered a message to the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, agreeing to the original deadline being delayed by six weeks. In San Salvador, the rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) simultaneously agreed to totally disarm its remaining 5,500 forces by the new deadline.

The rebels had suspended disarming that was to be completed by 31 October, arguing the government had not fulfilled the peace pact terms.

Meanwhile, a right-wing death squad's threat to kill FMLN leaders has heightened tension, menacing the fragile peace process. Guerrilla leaders dug in at their strongholds and placed their remaining fighters on alert. They accused President Cristiani's conservative government of being in cahoots with the death squads.