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DATE=8/30/1999 TYPE=EDITORIAL TITLE=ALGERIA'S SEARCH FOR PEACE NUMBER=0-08430 CONTENT= THIS IS THE FIRST OF TWO EDITORIALS BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 8/30/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: In July, Algeria hosted the annual summit of the Organization of African Unity. Participants and observers agreed it was the most successful in years, giving a fresh impetus to an institution designed to advance the continent's political, economic, and diplomatic agendas. Much of the credit was given to Algeria's new president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika [Ahb-del-ahzeez Boo-the- FLEE-kah]. He used the occasion to urge his countrymen to move rapidly toward national reconciliation. Algeria has been plagued by terrorist violence for a decade. Islamic fundamentalist insurgents have waged a brutal campaign to overthrow the government. Security forces have responded with brutal tactics of their own. By official count, some one-hundred thousand people have been killed. But recently the leaders of a major insurgent group, the Islamic Salvation Army, accepted a truce, and much of the violence has subsided. Algerians could take a further step toward reconciliation next month when they vote on a limited amnesty plan for the insurgents. The amnesty would not apply to those guilty of murder and rape. In addition, President Bouteflika is replacing high civil servants in many of the country's forty-seven states. The ostensible purpose of these moves is to improve governance. But some groups are opposed to any effort by the government to make life better for Algerians. This month, near the city of Medea [Meh-deh-ah], fourteen children were massacred while participating in a religious ritual. A few days earlier, twenty-nine bus-passengers were reported murdered. There also have been murderous attacks on soldiers. Since July, one-hundred thirty murders have been officially attributed to political terrorists. Those believed to be responsible are members of the Armed Islamic Group, the most sanguinary of the insurgent groups. The violence is intended to derail Algeria's hopes for reconciliation and undermine efforts to restore normal political activity. The terrorism is also intended to undercut Algerian diplomatic efforts to restore the country's normal international position. The terrorists must not be allowed to succeed. The Algerian people's long ordeal is not over, but President Bouteflika is offering a way out of it. Those who would sabotage his initiative for peace are the ones to blame if the tragedy continues in Algeria. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 27-Aug-1999 12:08 PM EDT (27-Aug-1999 1608 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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