TITLE=ALGERIA REFERENDUM (L ONLY)
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
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
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)
03-Aug-1999 08:25 AM EDT (03-Aug-1999 1225 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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