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DATE=8/3/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ALGERIA REFERENDUM (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-252431 BYLINE=RICHARD ENGEL DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Officials in Algeria are appealing for a high voter turnout next month in a national referendum about a peace deal with Islamic militants. Richard Engel in Cairo reports Algerian officials hope the plan will end the nation's seven-year civil war. TEXT: Algeria's new president, Abdel Aziz Bouteflika, is asking Algerians to endorse a plan he hopes will bring national reconciliation. Algerians are to vote September 16th on a peace accord the government signed with the armed wing of the nation's largest Muslim group, the Islamic Salvation Front. The peace deal, reached in June, would grant amnesty to thousands of Islamists not convicted of directly participating in violent crimes. President Bouteflika hopes the move will help end confrontations between government forces and Islamic militants. The Algerian president has said 100- thousand people have been killed in such clashes during the past seven-years. But some Islamic militant groups in Algeria reject the peace plan and say they will continue to fight against the government and its supporters. Algerian officials hope these small militant groups will become marginalized if they continue to fight after the armed wing of the Islamic Salvation Front has put down its weapons. The Islamic Salvation Front has also agreed to cooperate with the government to stamp out militant groups that disregard the peace deal. In a speech broadcast Monday, President Bouteflika said the reconciliation plan would encourage much- needed foreign investment into Algeria. Investors have stayed away from the North African nation since the war with the Islamists began in 1992 -- the year the government canceled elections the Islamists appeared poised to win. (Signed) NEB/RHE/JWH/RAE 03-Aug-1999 08:25 AM EDT (03-Aug-1999 1225 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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