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DATE=6/6/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250300 TITLE=ALGERIA CEASEFIRE (L) BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE MAIN REBEL GROUP IN ALGERIA SAYS IT HAS DECIDED TO END ITS ARMED ANTI-GOVERNMENT STRUGGLE AND THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT SAYS IT WILL OFFER AMNESTY TO REBELS WHO LAY DOWN THEIR ARMS. CORRESPONDENT SCOTT BOBB REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU IN CAIRO THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENTS FOLLOW A PROMISE MADE BY ALGERIA'S NEW PRESIDENT UPON HIS ELECTION SIX WEEKS AGO. TEXT: ALGERIA'S ISLAMIC SALVATION ARMY MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT SUNDAY AND STATE-OWNED TELEVISION ANNOUNCED THE GOVERNMENT'S AMNESTY OFFER SHORTLY THEREAFTER. THE WELL-COORDINATED ANNOUNCEMENTS FOLLOW A SERIES OF DISCREET MEETINGS BETWEEN REBEL LEADERS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF PRESIDENT ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA, WHO ASSUMED OFFICE AFTER CONTROVERSIAL ELECTIONS LAST APRIL. THERE ARE REPORTS THAT AS PART OF THE DEAL, THE LEADER OF THE GUERRILLAS' CIVILIAN WING, MADANI MEZRAG, MAY SOON BE RELEASED FROM HOUSE ARREST. MR. MEZRAG'S GROUP, THE ISLAMIC SALVATION FRONT, LAUNCHED THE REBELLION SEVEN YEARS AGO, AFTER THE ALGERIAN MILITARY CANCELLED ELECTIONS IT WAS POISED TO WIN. ///REST OPT FOR LONG /// THE SALVATION FRONT DECLARED A UNILATERAL CEASEFIRE TWO YEARS AGO AND BACKED ONE OF THE CANDIDATES IN LAST APRIL'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. THE MOVES WERE SEEN AS PART OF A TREND AWAY FROM VIOLENCE AND TOWARD A MORE CONVENTIONAL ROLE IN ALGERIAN POLITICS. NEVERTHELESS, TWO OTHER GUERRILLA GROUPS HAVE VOWED TO CONTINUE THEIR ATTACKS AGAINST SECURITY FORCES AND PRO-GOVERNMENT MILITIA. PRESIDENT BOUTEFLIKA IS BACKED BY A BROAD SEGMENT OF THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT AND HE RECEIVED MORE THAN 70 PERCENT OF THE VOTE, ALTHOUGH THE SIX OTHER CANDIDATES WITHDREW ON THE EVE OF THE ELECTION CITING WIDESPREAD IRREGULARITIES. THE VOTE WAS SEEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT FOR PRESIDENT BOUTEFLIKA'S PLEDGE TO SEEK AN END TO THE VIOLENCE THAT HAS KILLED MORE THAN 70 THOUSAND PEOPLE AND HINDERED FOREIGN INVESTMENT WHICH ALGERIA NEEDS TO REVIVE ITS ECONOMY. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/ENE/WFR 06-Jun-99 7:02 PM EDT (2302 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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