United Nations

A/50/499


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

3 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 45


        THE SITUATION IN CENTRAL AMERICA:  PROCEDURES FOR THE
        ESTABLISHMENT OF A FIRM AND LASTING PEACE AND PROGRESS
        IN FASHIONING A REGION OF PEACE, FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY
AND DEVELOPMENT

Report of the Secretary-General


I.  INTRODUCTION

1.  The present report is submitted pursuant  to General Assembly resolution
49/137 of  19 December 1994.   It covers  developments relating to  progress
achieved  by Central  American countries  in  the  areas of  peace, freedom,
democracy  and development since  my last  report (A/49/489  and Corr.1) was
submitted to the General Assembly on 7 October 1994.

2.  The General  Assembly has followed the  efforts of the  Central American
countries to  achieve a lasting peace  and annually  discussed the situation
in Central  America since  1983.   A more  direct involvement  in the  peace
process was precipitated by the signing by the  Presidents of Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Guatemala,  Honduras  and Nicaragua,  on  7  August 1987,  of  the
agreement  known  as  Esquipulas  II (A/42/521-S/19085,  annex).    The five
Central   American   Presidents   undertook   to   initiate   processes   of
democratization and  national dialogue in  their countries,  to bring  about
cease-fires  and promote  free and  fair  elections.  In February  1989, the
Presidents, gathered  at a summit  meeting in  El Salvador, called  upon the
United Nations to become involved in  the verification of these  agreements.
Since that  time  the  Organization  has  encouraged  the  Central  American
countries in  the steps taken to  consolidate their  progress towards peace,
freedom, democracy and development.

3.   Two important peace-keeping missions  have been carried  out in Central
America under  the authority of  the Security Council:   the  United Nations
Observer Group in  Central America (ONUCA) (November 1989-January 1992)  and
the United  Nations Observer  Mission in  El Salvador  (ONUSAL) (July  1991-
April 1995), one  of the most  comprehensive efforts ever undertaken  by the
United Nations.


95-29674 (E)   161095/...
*9529674*

  For its part, the General Assembly  authorized the United Nations Observer
Mission  to  Verify  the  Electoral Process  in  Nicaragua  (ONUVEN) (August
1989April  1990) and,  on  19  September  1994, adopted  resolution  48/267,
establishing  the  United  Nations Mission  for  the  Verification  of Human
Rights  and  of  Compliance  with  the  Commitments  of  the   Comprehensive
Agreement  on  Human  Rights  in  Guatemala   (MINUGUA).    Further  to  the
completion  of the  mandate  of  ONUSAL,  a smaller  Mission  of the  United
Nations  in El Salvador  (MINUSAL) was  instituted for  an initial six-month
period from  1 May 1995.  In  addition, most programmes  and agencies of the
United  Nations  system are  currently  providing  technical  assistance  to
Central America within country programmes or regional frameworks.

4.   In  addition  to  reports  of  the  Secretary-General on  the  missions
currently  in the  field  in El  Salvador  and  Guatemala,  at its  fiftieth
session  the General  Assembly will  consider  a number  of reports  on  the
region.     These  include   those  on   international  assistance  for  the
rehabilitation and  reconstruction of Nicaragua:   aftermath of  the war and
natural disasters; on  assistance for the reconstruction and development  of
El  Salvador; and on  international assistance  to and  cooperation with the
Alliance  for Sustainable Development.   A report prepared in  response to a
request by Nicaragua during the forty-ninth  session of the General Assembly
will  also be  submitted  on  support by  the United  Nations system  of the
efforts  of  Governments   to  promote  and  consolidate  new  or   restored
democracies.

5.   The  current report, like my  past reports on the  situation in Central
America, concentrates  on the  five signatories to  the Esquipulas  process.
However,  in  accordance  with  the  new  Central  American  agenda  and the
composition of Central American summit meetings,  reference is also made  to
the situation in Panama.


II.  THE CENTRAL AMERICAN PROCESS

6.  The mid-1990s see the Central  American region at a turning-point.  With
the important exception  of Guatemala, where the negotiation process  offers
the hope for a mediated solution  to the region's longest-lasting  conflict,
the civil wars of the 1980s  lie in the past.   What remains, as the Central
American Presidents declared during their  sixteenth summit meeting, held at
Cerro Verde, El  Salvador, from 29 to 31 March 1995, is "the  urgent need to
strengthen the peace processes in Central America  and thus to guarantee the
stability  and   security  which  are  essential  to  consolidation  of  the
democratic  order and the  economic and  social development  of our peoples"
(A/49/901-S/1995/396, annex I).

7.  In  a visit I made  to Honduras, El Salvador and  Guatemala from 1 to  3
April 1995, I was  able to confirm that countries throughout the region  are
making efforts  to convert the  improved prospects for  the goals of  peace,
democratization,  reconciliation,  development  and  justice  reiterated  by
their Governments into  a reality.  Democratically elected Governments  have
shown themselves  to be stable  even in  the face of  internal difficulties.
Particularly  notable  in this  respect  is  the  case  of Nicaragua,  which
emerged from months of dispute over  constitutional reform with an agreement
between its  executive and  legislative branches that  greatly enhances  the
prospects for  the country's governability in the run-up to the elections of
September and  November 1996  and  beyond.   In El  Salvador the  Government
committed itself to "Development:  the new name of peace" in its signing  on
31 May  1995 of  the Pact  of San  Andres.   A positive  development in  the
Guatemalan  process  emerged   in  the  context  of  the  Central   American
Parliament (PARLACEN)'s  IV Conference of Political Parties, held in Panama,
where,  on 22 August  1995, the  Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca
(URNG)  signed   the  Contadora  Declaration   with  the  Government   Peace
Commission  (COPAZ) and  representatives of  political  parties.   The  URNG
undertook to accept a unilateral cease-fire  during the electoral period (1-
13  November  1995),  while  the  parties  agreed  that  any  new Government
emerging  from the  elections  will respect  negotiated  agreements  reached

between the  URNG and  the present  Government.   In Costa  Rica a  damaging
conflict between  the Government  and the  opposition, with  its origins  in
differences over  a  programme of  reforms, was  defused  by  a pact  agreed
between the two parties in June 1995.

8.   Democratic  institutions have  been strengthened  as security  concerns
engendered  by armed  conflicts recede  into  the past  and are  replaced by
efforts to bring  military and public security  bodies under the  control of
the  civilian  authorities.    National  councils  for  human  rights  in El
Salvador, Guatemala  and Honduras  have consolidated  their presence  within
their respective  countries, while  non-governmental organizations  continue
to press  for vigilance and  accountability in this  area.   A major advance
was achieved  in El  Salvador when  on 1  January 1995, following  the final
dissolution  of  the National  Police,  the  peace-mandated  National  Civil
Police assumed sole responsibility for that  country's public security.   In
Honduras  important   steps  have  been  taken   in  the   transfer  of  the
administration of public security from military  to civilian control and  in
the  replacing of  mandatory military  service  with  a system  of voluntary
enlistment.    However,  throughout  the region,  the  economic  and  social
conditions  experienced  by  a  large  proportion  of  the  population  have
combined  with  difficulties  in  the  process  of  reintegration  of former
combatants  and those  displaced by  conflict  to  contribute to  a dramatic
increase in common criminality.

9.   An increased  assertiveness of  civil society  has generated a  new and
more diversified political process throughout Central  America.  The  number
and vigour  of  issue-oriented organizations  and professional  associations
have  provided  new  channels  for  political  participation,  most  clearly
demonstrated by the role played by the Assembly of Civil Society within  the
Guatemalan peace process. This active  participation was acknowledged by the
Central American  Presidents during  the International  Conference on  Peace
and  Development in  Central  America, held  at  Tegucigalpa on  24  and  25
October 1994.    At that  meeting the  Presidents declared  that they  would
encourage  dialogue   between  the  Governments,   civil  society,  regional
institutions and the international community.   They also undertook to  make
every  effort   to  facilitate  consolidation  of   the  various  forms   of
organization of civil society (A/49/639-S/1994/1247, annexes I and II).

10.    Macroeconomic  stabilization  within  the  region  has  largely  been
maintained,  although the  Economic  Commission for  Latin  America  and the
Caribbean (ECLAC) reports  mixed performances in individual economies,  with
a likely  effect of destabilization  in the short  term.   El Salvador, with
its economy  still buoyed  up by  remittances from  abroad, experienced  the
highest  growth  rate  (6  per  cent),  while  keeping  inflation  in single
figures.   Guatemala too experienced constant  growth, although it  suffered
from a rising fiscal  deficit and exchange rate appreciation.  In the run-up
to the profound changes  in the Panamanian economy likely to occur with  the
implementation  of  the Panama  Canal  Treaties  at the  end  of  1999,  the
country's  growth  slowed from  5.4 per  cent  to 4.7  per cent.  Nicaragua,
meanwhile, experienced a  positive growth rate (3.2  per cent) for the first
time since  1990, while keeping  inflation on  a downward path  and reducing
trade and current  account deficits.  Fiscal  crises hit Honduras  and Costa
Rica, which both experienced fiscal deficits  of 8 per cent of GDP and rises
in inflation.

11.   The  pursuit  of policies  necessary for  macroeconomic stabilization,
liberalization of  the  economy and  modernization  of  the State  has  been
accompanied  by a decline  in social  conditions across  much of  the region
that only increased  investment in this area  can hope to  redress.   As the
Central American Presidents  themselves recognized in their "Declaration  of
San Salvador II"  (A/49/901-S/1995/396, annex  V), widespread  unemployment,
social  deterioration  and poverty  are  problems  that  require their  most
urgent  attention.  That outbursts  of  social  unrest  have  not been  more
frequent  can be  attributed to  the  high  level of  political organization
manifest throughout the  region. However,  indications of the potential  for
social conflict  over the  issue of structural  reform were given  by large-

scale strike action taken  by workers in El  Salvador, Panama and Costa Rica
during the months of July and August 1995. In El Salvador  strikes called by
public sector  workers protested the  Government's tax adjustment  policies.
A 10-day  strike in  Panama in  reaction to  new labour  legislation led  to
riots in  which 400 protesters were  detained and four  persons killed.   In
Costa Rica a teachers' strike  in its fourth week brought as many as 150,000
government workers into the  streets in the biggest anti-government protests
in years before it was successfully resolved.

12.   The  Central American  process has  come  a long  way since  the  five
signatories  to  the   Esquipulas  II  commitments  first  established   the
"Procedure for a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central  America".  It has become
clear  that  for  peace  to  be  firm  and  lasting,  it  must  maintain  an
interrelationship with  freedom, democracy and  development.  The  challenge
ahead is a great one, precisely because, as the Central American  Presidents
expressed during their  sixteenth summit meeting: "the necessary  conditions
exist in Central America for establishing  a relationship of interdependence
between an agenda for peace and an agenda for development, and ... with  the
support  and efforts of  international solidarity,  the region  can become a
model of conflict  resolution, consolidated  by peace and democracy  through
comprehensive  development   and  the  adoption   of  political   solutions"
(A/49/901-S/1995/396, annex I).

Regional cooperation and integration

13.   The reporting  period has  seen the  consolidation of  a new  regional
strategy,  that of the  Alliance for  Sustainable Development,  in which the
importance of  greater regional cooperation  and integration is  emphasized.
The  new course  was  set by  the Declaration  of  Guacimo, adopted  by  the
Central American Presidents on 20 August 1994 (A/49/340-S/1994/994,  annex).
Together with  the documents signed  during the  Managua Environment  Summit
(12 October 1994) and the International  Conference on Peace and Development
at Tegucigalpa (24-25 October 1994), the  Guacimo Declaration marked both  a
return  to  the  principles  laid  out  in the  Tegucigalpa  Protocol  of 13
December 1991 and the clarification of  a major turning-point in  the course
taken by the region.

14.    The Alliance  for  Sustainable  Development,  as  established at  the
Managua meeting, is an ambitious and  comprehensive initiative guided by the
principles of "respect for life  in all its forms; continuous improvement of
the quality of  life; respect for the vitality  and diversity of our  earth;
peace; participatory democracy; the observance, promotion and protection  of
human rights; respect for  the multicultural character  and ethnic diversity
of our  peoples; economic integration  within the region and  with the world
outside; and  the responsibility of  succeeding generations for  sustainable
development"  (A/49/580-S/1994/1217,  annex I).    This  strategy  gave  the
participation  of the Central  American Presidents  in the  World Summit for
Social  Development,  held  at  Copenhagen  from  6  to  12  March  1995,  a
particular   relevance.    During  a  meeting  at   Copenhagen  attended  by
government   representatives   and   non-governmental   organizations,   the
Presidents  of  Central  America explained  the  principles  upon which  the
Alliance  was founded and outlined their hope that it would serve as a model
for other regions.  For their part, the Central  American Presidents brought
much of the Copenhagen agenda to their own  sixteenth summit meeting, held a
fortnight later. Attention at that summit  was focused on collective efforts
to  reduce poverty  in the  isthmus through  social integration, sustainable
human development and, in particular, investment in human capital.

15.    A  distinctive  feature of  the  region's  efforts  in  the  area  of
integration remains  the constant  dialogue maintained  for the purposes  of
political and  institutional cooperation.  In  addition to  the major summit
meetings  mentioned  above, which  have  proved  themselves  a flexible  and
effective format for  highlevel decision-making, the enhanced activities  of
the  Central American  Integration System (SICA) have  ensured that regional
meetings within the institutional and legal  framework it establishes are  a
constant of Central American  political life.  SICA,  which is based  at San

Salvador,   has  been  further  strengthened  by  the  installation  of  its
executive committee  on 29 March 1995  and Costa Rica's  ratification of the
Tegucigalpa Protocol,  thereby joining SICA, on  28 June  1995.  Considering
that it epitomizes the  new regional situation  of a more "open, stable  and
democratic Central America", SICA is seeking  observer status in the General
Assembly  (A/50/146).    In  accordance  with  this  renewed  drive  towards
integration,  other regional  organizations, such  as the  Central  American
Parliament (PARLACEN),  the Central American  Bank for Economic  Integration
and  the  Central  American  Court  of  Justice,  have  also  seen increased
activity during the past year.

16.  It is perhaps not surprising that  economic integration is proving more
difficult  to  secure  than  integration  in  other  areas.    Although  the
Permanent Secretariat  of the  General Treaty on  Central American  Economic
Integration (SIECA),  in consultation with ECLAC and other organizations, is
working  on a proposal  for sustainable  economic development, the potential
for conflict  between regional  and individual  priorities in  this area  is
great.    Costa Rica's  bilateral  free  trade  agreement  with Mexico,  for
example, came  into effect  on 1  January 1995,  in advance of  any regional
agreement.   The region's response to  the trade  liberalization proposed by
El  Salvador  in  January  1995  was   also  illustrative  of  this   point.
Recommendations for the lowering of the  existing common tariff ceiling  and
floor (20 per cent  and 5 per cent respectively) were moderated in  response
to reactions  from  neighbouring Governments  and intense  debate within  El
Salvador.    The  discussion  of  whether  the  whole  region  would  accept
standardized tariff  rates  was raised  again  during  the sixteenth  summit
meeting.  As  the summit began  the President  of Costa  Rica announced  his
intentions to raise  tariffs temporarily by  8 percentage points as  part of
his effort  to tackle the  country's fiscal  crisis.  However,  progress has
been made  in  the integration  of  the  three  countries of  the  so-called
"northern triangle":  El Salvador, Guatemala and  Honduras.   In August 1995
they ratified  the  Guatemala Protocol  to  the  General Treaty  on  Central
American Integration  with  a view  to  increasing  the potential  of  their
subregional market.

17.  The elaboration of  an accord on regional security issues has been  the
subject of  discussion at recent meetings  of the  Central American Security
Commission,  attended by  the Deputy  Ministers of  Foreign Affairs, Defence
and Public Security or Government.  A proposed  treaty would seek to  define
a  security model  that would  make use  of democratic  institutions to find
integral  and peaceable  solutions to  the region's  problems.   A  May 1995
planning  meeting  held  by  the  region's  Foreign  Ministers  in  Honduras
suggested the  subject might  be  addressed during  the seventeenth  summit,
scheduled to be held at  San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in December 1995.   These
political developments reflect  important changes within the region's  armed
forces.  Panama has  joined Costa Rica in abolishing its army; Nicaragua and
El  Salvador continue to make progress in the  subordination of their armies
to  civilian rule,  while the  last  year has  seen Honduras  and  Guatemala
address  the issue  more seriously  than ever before.  An indication  of the
shift within  the region's  military was  given by  the signing  on 29  June
1995,  by  the  Ministers of  Defence  and  heads  of  the  armed forces  of
Honduras, El Salvador  and Nicaragua, under the  auspices of PARLACEN,  of a
"Declaration for  peace, democracy, development  and integration in  Central
America".  The three generals recognized the need to define a  new model for
regional defence respectful of human rights,  the strengthening of the  rule
of law and the integral development of the human person and society.

18.  Although not  related directly to the  Esquipulas process, progress  in
overcoming territorial  disputes forms  a vital part  of any  review of  the
status  of  regional  cooperation  and  integration.    While   difficulties
remain  - in  the  issue  of the  land pockets  (bolsones) along  the border
between Honduras and El Salvador (most of which were awarded to Honduras  by
the International  Court  of Justice  on  the  border dispute  in  September
1992);  in the  demarcation  of  the waters  of the  Gulf of  Fonseca, where
Honduras,  El  Salvador  and  Nicaragua  share  fishing  rights;  and  along
sections of  the border between Guatemala and Belize, where tensions rose in

late  August  and  early  September  1995  -  the  countries  concerned have
consistently  insisted  on  the  need to  settle  their  differences through
dialogue.  Discussions within the Binational  Commissions of El Salvador and
Honduras -one established to resolve remaining issues  of border demarcation
and the other  to negotiate issues of dual  nationality and property -  have
continued.  In  early September 1995  the two countries agreed  to undertake
the verification  of property  registration, examine  issues of  nationality
and  introduce  a  new  system  of  monitoring  borders  designed  to reduce
tensions in the area.

 Extraregional cooperation

19.  The countries  of Central America continue  to stress the importance of
the  role played by  the international  community in  promoting their peace,
freedom,  democracy and  development.   At a  time of  pressing demands  for
international assistance,  they have insisted on  the need  for this support
to  be  maintained  if   the  progress  made  in  recent  years  is  to   be
consolidated.

20.   A mechanism through which members of the  international community gave
direct encouragement  to individual  peace processes  was first  established
for El  Salvador.   In that  instance my  predecessor gathered  about him  a
Group of Friends made up of Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Spain, with  the
later addition of the  United States.  A  similar mechanism is  currently in
place with  respect  to  Guatemala,  where  the  Group  of  Friends  of  the
Guatemalan Peace Process is  made up of the countries mentioned above,  with
the  addition of  Norway.  The  General Assembly has  expressed its approval
(in resolutions 48/161  and 49/137) of  the initiative by the  Government of
Nicaragua  by which  friendly countries  (Canada, Mexico,  the  Netherlands,
Spain  and  Sweden)  have  formed  a  Support  Group  to  follow Nicaragua's
transition and  to support internal  consensus-building. The United  Nations
Development Programme  (UNDP) serves as its  technical secretariat.   During
the  last  year  the  Support Group  has  been  particularly active  in  its
encouragement of  a resolution  to  the dispute  over constitutional  reform
through dialogue;  in its encouragement of  the need to  find a satisfactory
solution to  the  complex  issue  of  property;  and  its  support  for  the
formation  of  a  national  development  strategy  for  Nicaragua.    I have
followed  these   activities  with  interest,   and  welcome  the   positive
contribution that the  Support Group is  continuing to provide in  the field
of preventive diplomacy.

21.   A  major  platform for  discussion of  cooperation  amongst  and trade
between the  countries of  the Americas  was provided  by the Summit  of the
Americas,  held at  Miami,  Florida,  from 9  to  11 December  1994.    This
meeting, the first  summit of  its kind  since the end  of the Second  World
War, led to the  commitment of all participants  to work together, under the
coordination of  the  Trade Unit  of  the  Organization of  American  States
(OAS), towards  the establishment of  a free trade  area of  the Americas by
the year 2005.   Discussions on this  subject were continued in a  follow-up
meeting  convened  at  Denver,  Colorado,  in  early  July  1995.   Parallel
discussions held  at the summit between  the Central  American countries and
the  United States led  to the agreement  of CONCAUSA,  a cooperation accord
between the  two  parties  by which  the  United  States  became  the  first
extraregional  associate  of  Central  America's  Alliance  for  Sustainable
Development.   It was established that  CONCAUSA would  receive the economic
support of the United States and  the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
with an initial  fund of $41.5 million.   A further Statement of Intent  for
Sustainable Development Cooperation was signed with  the United States on  9
June 1995 in San Jose, Costa Rica (A/50/366, annex).

22.   Political dialogue  and economic  cooperation with  the European Union
was  maintained  through  the  eleventh  annual  meeting  in  the  "San Jose
Process" between  the Foreign Ministers of  the Central American  countries,
the European  Union and the Group of Three (Colombia,  Mexico and Venezuela)
held  at Panama  City from 23 to  24 February 1995.   The European Ministers
welcomed  the  progress  made  during  the  decade  of  these  meetings  and

encouraged the parties in  the Guatemalan conflict to  reach a lasting peace
accord  as soon  as was  feasible.   Concerned about  their trade  with  the
countries  of  the  European  Union,  their  Central  American  counterparts
requested  to have  the  preferential treatment  accorded  Central  American
agricultural exports  under the Generalized  System of Preferences  extended
for  a further  10  years.   However,  amidst  discussions  of the  need  to
reformulate  the  San  Jose   process,  the  European  Union  extended  this
preferential treatment only  for a further year.   It was noted that  during
its 10 years  of cooperation with  Central America, the  European Union  had
provided over ECU 1,000 million in  multilateral assistance, ECU 170 million
in 1994.

23.  The economic contribution of  the international community to  the peace
processes  in Central  America was  extended  by  commitments made  during a
series  of  Consultative  Group  meetings  on Nicaragua,  Guatemala  and  El
Salvador organized  by IADB  and the  International Bank  for Reconstruction
and Development and held in Paris from 19  to 22 June 1995.  Representatives
of   the  international  financial  institutions  (IADB,  the  International
Monetary Fund  (IMF)  and the  World  Bank)  and donor  countries  committed
$1,500  million to Nicaragua  over the  three-year period  1995-1997, on the
condition of "the maintenance  of stability and national unity".  The  funds
will be  primarily directed towards closing  the gap  in Nicaragua's balance
of payments.   Guatemala,  like Nicaragua,  received pledges  of more  funds
than it expected.  A delegation led by  the country's President was  offered
a package totalling $553.2 million, of which $120  million were for projects
already presented  to donors and the  remaining $433  million for sustaining
the peace process.  With regard to El  Salvador, donors indicated they would
commit  an additional  sum of  approximately $50  million in support  of the
completion  of the  peace accords,  a considerably  lower sum  than the $118
million sought  by the Government.   However, the  total aid  for the period
1995-1996 committed to El Salvador amounted to $1,300 million.

24.  The  ninth summit meeting of  the Rio Group,  at which  Central America
was represented  by Nicaragua,  took place  at Quito,  on 4 and  5 September
1995.  In the Quito Declaration signed  at its conclusion, the Rio  Group of
countries  expressed  their  support  of  integration  processes  under  way
throughout  Latin America and  the Caribbean and reaffirmed their commitment
to meet the deadline  of 2005 set by the  Miami Summit for  the introduction
of hemispheric free  trade. As part  of the Group's determination  to combat
the production, traffic and consumption of  illicit drugs, a special meeting
of the Group, to be held  in Panama, was  called for early 1996 in order  to
discuss  the establishment of a  centre in Panama to  fight drug trafficking
and related crimes within the region.  The Central American Presidents  will
also  participate in  the fifth  summit meeting  of the  heads of  State  of
Ibero-American countries, which will take place in Bariloche, Argentina,  on
16 and 17 October 1995.

25.  The OAS  has continued to contribute  to the Central  American process,
even  as it  has  assumed  a leading  role  on trade  issues throughout  the
Americas. Secretary-General Cesar  Gaviria, in particular,  has demonstrated
the  organization's keen  interest in  the  initiative  of the  Alliance for
Sustainable Development through his  presence at presidential  summits.  For
their  part,  the  Central  American  Presidents,  during  the  twenty-fifth
session of the  General Assembly of  the OAS, held  in Haiti  in June  1995,
welcomed the  "new vision" of the  organization presented in response to the
new needs and challenges  facing the hemisphere.   OAS cooperation with  the
region continues to be extended  through the Central American Mine-Clearance
Programme,  carried  out in  conjunction  with  the  Inter-American  Defence
Board, as well as through the presence of the OAS International Support  and
Verification Commission  in Nicaragua.   The Commission's objectives  are to
verify  observance  of  the  rights  and  guarantees  of  those  affected by
Nicaragua's  conflict,  assist  in  their  reintegration  and  support   the
strengthening of democratic institutions.


III.  UNITED NATIONS

26.   Since my  last report  to  the General  Assembly on  the situation  in
Central America (A/49/489 and Corr.1), the  United Nations has continued  to
support  the countries of  Central America  in their  efforts to consolidate
peace,  democracy  and  development within  the  mandates  entrusted  to the
Secretary-General  and the  various programmes  and agencies  of the  United
Nations  system.    Under  the authority  conferred  on me  by  the Security
Council, I continued to undertake the  verification and good offices mandate
assigned to ONUSAL.   Upon  ONUSAL's departure  from El  Salvador the  small
mission  MINUSAL  was established  to  oversee  the  fulfilment  of all  the
outstanding provisions of the 1992 peace  agreements. Under the mandates  of
the General  Assembly  and the  Security Council  I have  also continued  to
exercise my good offices  in the search for  a negotiated settlement  of the
civil  conflict in Guatemala  and have  established a  mission, MINUGUA, for
the verification  of a human rights  agreement achieved  through the process
of negotiation.   In  addition to  these specific  missions, United  Nations
operationalactivitieshavebeencarriedoutwithinnationalandregionalprogrammes.

United Nations in El Salvador

27.   During the final  months of its  mandate I  kept the  Security Council
regularly informed about the work of ONUSAL (S/1994/1212 of 31 October  1994
and S/1995/220 of 24 March 1995).   I also conveyed to the  Security Council
the periodic reports of the Director of the Human Rights Division of  ONUSAL
to the General Assembly  as annexes  to my notes of  31 October 1994 and  18
April  1995  concerning his  activities (A/49/585-S/1994/1220  and A/49/888-
S/1995/281). Following the dissolution of ONUSAL,  and in accordance with my
undertaking  in a  letter to  the President  of  the  Security Council  of 6
February  1995  (S/1995/143),  I  have ensured  that  the  Security  Council
receives  regular  information concerning  the  operations  of  MINUSAL  and
developments in El Salvador.

28.  The  process initiated by the Peace  Accords between the Government  of
El Salvador  and the Frente Farabundo  Marti para la Liberacion Nacional has
maintained its  impetus and  contributed to  the country's  progress from  a
violent and closed society towards one  in which democratic order,  the rule
of law and respect for  human rights are being consolidated.  In this  there
is  much  for  which  the  Government  and people  of  El  Salvador  must be
congratulated.  However,  the implementation of  the outstanding elements of
the Peace  Accords  has not  been  without  problems, despite  the  parties'
continuing  expression  of  their determination  to  see  the  Peace Accords
urgently  fulfilled  for  the benefit  of  all  Salvadorans.    Difficulties
developed and delays again  occurred in a number  of areas, including:   the
full  deployment of  the National  Civil Police  and the  completion of  the
demobilization of  the  National Police;  the  reform  of the  judicial  and
electoral systems;  the  transfer of  land  to  former combatants;  and  the
conclusion of reintegration programmes.

29.   On 31 October 1994 I reported to the Security Council that I therefore
deemed  it necessary  to recommend  that the mandate  of the  United Nations
Observer Mission  to  El Salvador  (ONUSAL)  be  extended, at  much  reduced
strength, until 30 April 1995.  An acceleration  in the outstanding areas of
the  agreements in  the latter  part of  1994  - including  the long-delayed
demobilization  of  the National  Police  on 31  December  1994  -  was then
followed by  a period of  relative stagnation in  the early  months of 1995,
with  delays  in  the land  programme and  the  emergence of  other worrying
indicators.

30.   In the light of these developments, in my letter of 6 February 1995, I
informed the  President of the Security Council of my intention  to set up a
small  team of United  Nations officials to provide  good offices and verify
implementation  of  the  outstanding  provisions  of  the  peace  agreements
following  the expiry  of ONUSAL.   On  27 April  1995, the  parties to  the
Chapultepec peace agreements signed a Programme  of Work for the  completion
of all  outstanding areas of the  Peace Accords.   On the  following day the
Security Council adopted resolution 991 (1995),  formally marking the end of
the mandate  of  ONUSAL.   The  new  Mission of  the  United Nations  in  El

Salvador (MINUSAL)  began its  work as  planned on  1 May  1995, led  by Mr.
Enrique ter Horst, my Special Representative.  With its staff partly  funded
by  voluntary  contributions,  MINUSAL  represents  a  much  reduced  United
Nations  presence, but one that confirms the  Organization's ongoing support
of peace-building in El Salvador.  In May 1995 I established the Trust  Fund
for MINUSAL in order to  support the Mission's activities.   I would like to
take this  opportunity  to thank  those  countries  that have  already  made
contributions to this fund and encourage others to come forward to do so.

31.  The Programme of Work had divided the remaining accords into six  areas
(public   security,   land  transfer,   human   settlements,   reintegration
programmes,  Fund  for  the  Protection  of  the  Wounded  and  Disabled and
legislative  reforms) and established dates by which  specific provisions in
each area  must  be completed.  Monthly updates  on  its  progress, which  I
circulated informally to members of the  Security Council, have revealed the
continuing  determination of the  parties to  the peace  agreements to bring
them  to  completion.   Progress  has  been  made in  all  areas,  with  the
Government's   deposit  of   ratification  of  international   human  rights
instruments   with  the   Secretariats  of   the  United  Nations   and  the
Organization of American States and its  recognition of the jurisdiction  of
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights particularly to be welcomed.   With
a  view  to ensuring  the  consolidation  and  sustainability  of the  peace
process,  MINUSAL -as ONUSAL  before it  - has also  cooperated closely with
UNDP in  the design of technical  assistance programmes  that will reinforce
institution-building initiated within the peace agreements themselves.

32.   This progress  notwithstanding, it  has become  clear that significant
delays have occurred  in the land  transfer programme (which reached  the 60
per cent target set for 30  April 1995 only  in the first week of July),  in
the design  of  a "special  regime"  for  rural  human settlements,  in  the
strengthening of  the National Civil  Police (PNC)  and in  the approval  of
legislative reforms required  to comply with the binding recommendations  of
the Commission  on the Truth.  Although the majority of  the points detailed
in the Programme of  Work relating to public security have been completed, a
number of disquieting developments have arisen  that could signal a reversal
of the necessary process of institutional  consolidation and a distortion of
the  vision  of public  security  designed  in the  peace  agreements.    Of
particular  concern is the  fact that  the Police  Career Law, indispensable
for guaranteeing the  professional and moral proficiency of the PNC, has, at
the time of writing, yet to be approved.

33.   For  the above  reasons, and  with the  Government of El  Salvador and
other  signatories  to  the  peace  agreements  in  concurrence  as  to  the
necessity  of  a  continued  presence  of MINUSAL,  on  6  October  1995,  I
therefore informed the General Assembly of  my decision to maintain  MINUSAL
in El Salvador for  a further six months,  until 30  April 1996.  Given  the
progress in  completing  points  identified within  the Programme  of  Work,
together with the imminent start-up  of the technical assistance programmes,
it has been possible  to introduce a  balanced reduction in the staffing  of
MINUSAL and a commensurate reduction in its budget.

The peace process in Guatemala

34.  In  my last report to the General Assembly on the  situation in Central
America, I  informed Member  States of  progress made in  the peace  process
between the Government  of Guatemala and  the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional
Guatemalteca (URNG) starting with the signing  of the Framework Agreement on
10  January 1994 (A/48/61-S/1994/53).   I  told them  about how negotiations
had moved forward  swiftly during the first half  of 1994 and produced  four
successive agreements,  prior to  the establishment,  in September 1994,  of
MINUGUA.   Since that time, and as  mandated by the  General Assembly in its
resolution 49/137 and resolutions 48/267  of 19 September 1994, 49/236 of 31
March  1995 and 49/236  B of  14 September 1995, I  have continued to inform
Member  States on a  regular basis  about developments  during the reporting
period (A/49/825-S/1994/1453 of 28 December 1994;  A/49/856 and Corr.1 of  1
March 1995;  A/49/857-S/1995/168 of 1 March  1995; A/49/860 of 8 March 1995;

A/49/879-S/1995/241  of 29 March 1995; A/49/882-S/1995/256 of 10 April 1995;
A/49/929 of  29 June  1995; A/49/955 of  11 August  1995; and  A/50/1 of  22
August 1995).

35.  With  a view to strengthening the  ability of the Secretariat to  carry
out the numerous  tasks entrusted to it within the Guatemalan peace process,
in  October 1994 I established  the Guatemala Unit  within the Department of
Political Affairs.  In addition to  coordinating support to the negotiations
and  the  activities  of MINUGUA,  the  Guatemala  Unit  recently  initiated
preparatory  work  required  for  the  establishment  of  the  Clarification
Commission,  as   requested  by  the  parties   in  the   Agreement  on  the
Establishment of  a Commission to Clarify  Human Rights  Violations and Acts
of  Violence  that  Caused  the  Guatemalan  People   to  Suffer  (A/48/954-
S/1994/751, annex II).   In order to support institutionbuilding  activities
by MINUGUA as  well as other activities relating to the peace  process, on 1
March 1995 I  established the Trust Fund for the Guatemala peace process.  I
wish to express  my appreciation to  those countries that have  already made
contributions and invite other Member States  to provide similar support  to
the process.  After  my April 1995 visit  to Guatemala, and in  view of  the
heightened responsibilities  conferred on  the United  Nations, I  appointed
Mr. Gilberto Schlittler as my Special Envoy for the Guatemala Peace  Process
with overall coordinating responsibility.
  36.   The negotiations  on  the item  "Identity and  rights of  indigenous
peoples", initiated on  20 October 1994,  concluded with  the signing of  an
agreement in  Mexico City on  31 March  1995.   As stressed  by the  General
Assembly in its resolution  49/236 B, the agreement is an important step  in
the peace process and a landmark in the  International Decade of the World's
Indigenous  People.  Immediately  after  the signing  of  the  Agreement  on
Identity  and  Rights  of  the Indigenous  Peoples,  representatives  of the
Assembly of Civil Society submitted to the  delegations of the Government of
Guatemala and  the URNG,  the consensus  document on  the next  item of  the
negotiating   agenda,  namely  "Socio-economic   aspects  and  the  agrarian
situation".   The  negotiations on  this  item  have been  proceeding  well,
though at  a slow pace, owing in  particular to the complexity of the issues
involved  and the  comprehensive approach  adopted  by  the parties.   As  I
informed the  General Assembly  (A/49/955), although  the revised  timetable
agreed to in February  1995 has not  been observed, the parties are  showing
the  political will to move  forward.  The United Nations should, therefore,
continue to lend them assistance with a view  to the earliest conclusion  of
an agreement on a firm and lasting peace.

37.  In the meantime, MINUGUA, the most  tangible result of the negotiations
so far,  has consolidated  its presence  and intensified  its activities  in
Guatemala. Since  its formal inauguration on  21 November  1994, the Mission
has deployed  fully and opened eight  regional offices  and five suboffices.
Reports  by the  Director  of  MINUGUA have  been transmitted  by me  to the
General Assembly  on 1  March 1995 (A/49/856  and Corr.1) and  29 June  1995
(A/49/929).    The  reports  describe  the   context  in  which  MINUGUA  is
operating, the activities carried  out by the  Mission, including  summaries
of the cases  considered, and conclusions and recommendations regarding  the
human rights situation in Guatemala.   Taking into account these reports and
based on  my recommendations, the General  Assembly extended  the mandate of
MINUGUA for further periods of six  months on 31 March 1995 and 14 September
1995 (resolutions  49/236 and 49/236 B  respectively).   While compliance by
the parties with their undertakings in  the Comprehensive Agreement on Human
Rights  (A/48/928-S/1994/448,  annex I)  has  shown  some  improvement,  the
overall  human  rights situation  in  Guatemala  remains  a  source of  much
concern.  I therefore stress  the need for  the parties to respond fully  to
the General  Assembly's call in  resolution 49/236 B  for them to  implement
the  recommendations  contained in  the  first  and  second  reports of  the
Director of MINUGUA.

38.    I wish  to stress  that  during  the reporting  period, international
efforts in support of the peace process, encouraged by  the General Assembly
in paragraph  13 of resolution 49/137,  have continued.   In the context  of
the  negotiations,  the involvement  of  the  United  Nations  system in  an

advisory capacity  may  be expected  to  facilitate  future efforts  in  the
consolidation of  a  firm and  lasting  peace.  During the  negotiations  on
"Identity and rights of indigenous  peoples" and "Socio-economic aspects and
the agrarian  situation", valuable advice has  been lent  to the Secretariat
by  the Food and  Agriculture Organization of the  United Nations (FAO), the
International Labour  Organization  (ILO), the  United Nations  Educational,
Scientific   and   Cultural  Organization   (UNESCO),   the   World   Health
Organization  (WHO),  Habitat,  the  United  Nations  Development  Programme
(UNDP),  the  Economic  Commission  for  Latin  America  and  the  Caribbean
(ECLAC),  the  United  Nations  Office for  Project  Services  (UNOPS),  the
International  Monetary Fund  (IMF), the  World Bank  and the Inter-American
Development Bank (IADB).
  39.   Enhanced  international cooperation  is  also  taking place  on  the
ground  with respect to  agreements already  signed.   With regard  to human
rights, a joint MINUGUA-UNDP unit has been created as a focal  point for all
institution-building projects  arising from the  Comprehensive Agreement  on
Human  Rights  and  the  Agreement  on  Identity  and  Rights  of Indigenous
Peoples.   With  respect to  the Agreement  on the  Resettlement of Uprooted
Population  Groups,  the  United  Nations system  and  donor  countries  are
represented as observers in the Technical  Commission created in August 1994
to implement preparatory aspects.  Since  June 1995, they are  participating
with the Government and  representatives of the  uprooted population  within
five specific  committees on  demining, documentation,  social and  economic
development, land and land management.

40.   On  12 November 1995 general  elections will be held  in Guatemala for
the third  time since  the transition to  civilian rule in  1985.  In  a new
development, in  March  1995, the  URNG  called  for full  participation  of
Guatemalans  in the electoral  process.   The sectors  of Guatemalan society
that  had  not  participated  in   elections  for  decades   have  nominated
candidates for the first time. Considered  alongside the commitments of  the
Contadora Declaration, mentioned in paragraph 7  above, and the appeals from
all sectors of civil society for citizens to  vote, the elections now  offer
a  notable  opportunity  for  Guatemalans  to  strengthen  their  democratic
institutions.   It  is incumbent  on all  sectors of  society to  take  full
advantage  of this opportunity and ensure that these  elections will be free
and fair.   Within its broad mandate  of human rights verification,  MINUGUA
will be focusing attention on the observance of political rights.

41.   As  noted above,  positive  developments have  taken place  during the
reporting  period.    However,  much  remains  to   be  done,  both  at  the
negotiating  table and in  the implementation  of the  agreements already in
force.  I have already pointed out the  concerns of the Director of  MINUGUA
regarding  the continuing  high incidence  of  human  rights abuses  and the
pervasive  pattern  of  impunity.    To  be  successful,  the  peace process
requires the continued commitment of the  Government of Guatemala, the  URNG
and broad  sectors  of Guatemalan  society.   With  such  support, I  remain
convinced that it  can be  an effective  means to  end a  long conflict,  to
strengthen democratic structures and to promote  changes that will prevent a
recurrence of political violence and become the basis for a lasting peace.

United Nations operational activities

42.    United  Nations  support  to  Central  America  through   operational
activities is comprehensive and diversified.   It has sought, in particular,
to  facilitate  the  regional  process.    During  the course  of  1994,  in
compliance with resolution 45/231 and, as  I reported in document  A/49/534,
the  Special Plan of Economic Cooperation for Central  America (PEC) and the
International Conference  on Central American  Refugees (CIREFCA) both  came
to an  end.   During  the forty-ninth  session  of  the General  Assembly  I
reported on the activities conducted under  the Special Plan, together  with
requirements   in  terms   of  the   resources  and   financial   assistance
indispensable to  the continued  implementation of  priority programmes  and
projects   favouring  the  peace  and  development  process  in  the  region
(A/49/397).   In resolution  49/21 I,  the General  Assembly emphasized  the
necessity of  designing a new  programme for  international cooperation with

Central America, based on the principles  established in the Declaration  of
Commitments adopted  by the  Follow-up Committee  of CIREFCA,  at a  meeting
held in  Mexico  City in  June 1994,  and  the  regional strategy  contained
within  the Alliance for Sustainable Development.   The resolution supported
the  efforts  of  the Central  American  Governments  to  alleviate  extreme
poverty  and  promote  sustainable  human  development  and  urged  them  to
intensify the  implementation of programmes  and projects  to this end.   It
called upon  the international community, and  the United  Nations system in
particular, to continue the necessary support  for the implementation of the
goals and  objectives  for the  new  strategy  for integral  development  in
Central America.

43.    At  the  national  level,  and  at  the request  of  the  Governments
concerned,  the  United Nations  operational  system  has  concentrated  its
efforts in the following  areas:  (a) poverty alleviation, with emphasis  on
the most vulnerable sectors,  particularly with respect  to health, housing,
education, income-generating activities and  social investment schemes;  (b)
economic reform  and public  sector policies and  management; (c)  emergency
and  development  assistance aimed  at  the  repatriation of  refugees,  and
reintegration of demobilizing  combatants, refugees and displaced people  in
the   countries  requiring   such  assistance;   (d)  governance   and   the
strengthening  of  democratic  institutions  through  support  to  electoral
processes  as well as  the courts,  parliaments and  human rights ombudsmen;
(e)  environmental  protection  and  promotion  of  sustainable  development
policies,  legislation and practices; (f) population-related programmes; and
(g) natural  disaster  prevention and  rehabilitation.    The Bretton  Woods
institutions,  as I  have stated  in previous  reports (A/48/586;  A/49/489)
have added emphasis  to social concerns  and the modernization of  the State
to their  earlier concentration on  macroeconomic stabilization through  the
initiation of programmes of structural adjustment.

44.  Cooperation  in the economic field, in  addition to the ongoing  policy
dialogue carried  out through ECLAC,  has been provided in  order to improve
the  region's  ability  to  compete  within  the world  economy.    Areas of
concentration   continue   to  be   agricultural   development,   industrial
modernization,   international   trade   negotiations,   regional   economic
integration and  regional integration institutions.   Although the  Protocol
to the Treaty of  Economic Integration was signed in October 1993, the  need
for increased attention to the  economic sectoral policies and institutional
reforms necessary for integration to advance is still evident.

45.  In the area of social development,  joint activities are being  carried
out by UNDP, the  World Bank, the IADB,  the World Health Organization (WHO)
and the  Pan American Health  Organization.  A continuing  emphasis has been
placed  on  the  fight  against  poverty,  the  formulation  of   investment
programmes and  the provision of key  basic services, notably  in the fields
of health,  education  and culture,  nutrition  and  feeding.   Efforts  are
centred around  the objectives of  the Alliance  for Sustainable Development
and,  in  an  initiative  formulated  in  response  to  the  "Declaration of
Commitments  in  favour  of populations  affected  by  uprootedness  and  by
conflicts  and extreme  poverty in  the  framework  of the  consolidation of
peace in Central America" mentioned above,  the pursuit of sustainable human
development at the local level.

 46.   On  a  national  basis support  groups, known  as GRUCAN  ("Grupos de
Concertacion  y Apoyo a  Nivel Nacional")  have been  established in Belize,
Costa Rica,  El Salvador  and Nicaragua,  with the  participation of  a wide
range  of actors:    the national  Government,  the  beneficiary population,
national and  international non-governmental organizations,  as well as  the
United  Nations system.   Within the  process of  fulfilling the commitments
undertaken  by  the  CIREFCA  follow-up  committee,  the  experience of  the
Programme for Displaced Persons, Refugees and  Returnees in Central  America
(PRODERE) has  played  an important  role.    The most  extensive  programme
undertaken  in Central  America in this area,  PRODERE's comprehensive human
development strategy consisted  of six  national and two regional  projects,
financed largely  by the  Government of  Italy. The  Programme finished  its

operations on 31 July 1995.

47.  The  Culture of  Peace Programme is a  major initiative of UNESCO  that
responds to the call to the agencies for  action in the fields of preventive
diplomacy and peace-building.   El Salvador has been  the site of the  pilot
national programme,  which aims at  the reconstruction and reconciliation of
Salvadorian society.    With  these  goals  in  mind the  Culture  of  Peace
Programme  has adopted  an  innovative policy  of  participation,  dialogue,
negotiation  and concertation  between  the Government  and  civil  society.
Each  programme project  fosters confidence and trust  between social actors
who are  not natural partners.  Other national programmes are  now under way
in Guatemala  and Nicaragua,  but  so far  El  Salvador  has been  the  only
country to  establish (on  10 March  1995) a  National Coordination  Council
(NCC), headed by the  Minister of Education and  made up of  representatives
of  government   organizations  and   those  of  civil  society,   which  is
responsible  for the  definition and follow-up  of the major  aspects of the
Culture of Peace Programme.


IV.  OBSERVATIONS

48.  Central America addresses this key  moment in its history with a number
of assets:  the  prospect that, with the successful resolution of the  peace
negotiations  in Guatemala, it  may find  itself without  armed conflict for
the first time in more than three decades; a  new agenda of social, economic
and   other  reforms   contained  within   the  Alliance   for   Sustainable
Development;  a  dynamic  institutional framework  with  which  to  seek  to
implement  this  agenda; and  the support  of  the international  community,
honed  into an active  partnership and  including the  United Nations system
itself, with which to do so.  Together  these assets place the countries  of
Central  America in  a favourable  position  from  which to  pursue economic
growth, social justice and further democratization. However, the gravity  of
the challenges  the region  faces makes it  abundantly clear that  they will
only  be overcome if  they are  approached with the dedication  and sense of
urgency brought to bear on civil  war and regional tensions in the past.  As
sincerely  as I encourage  the parties  endeavouring to  secure a negotiated
resolution to the conflict  in Guatemala to make every effort to provide the
basis  for a lasting  peace in that  country, I  also urge  the countries of
Central America and the international community to remain fully engaged in



 the consolidation of peace throughout the  region.  As Secretary-General, I
am ready to  continue to play the active  role in this process entrusted  to
me by the General Assembly.


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