Report: Peru willing to bend on key rebel demand
Fourth round of talks to begin
In this story:
February 24, 1997
Web posted at: 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT)
LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Peru's president was reportedly ready to
make a major concession to Marxist rebels holding 72 VIPs
hostage in Lima as negotiators prepared Monday for a fourth
round of talks aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the
According to Mainichi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper,
President Alberto Fujimori is willing to entertain rebel
demands for the release of prisoners. Previously, Fujimori
has been resolute in his refusal to consider releasing the
rebels' jailed comrades, which has been their main demand.
Also on the table for the latest talks are jail conditions
for 400 Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement prisoners.
It was unclear whether rebel leader Nestor Cerpa would attend
talks Monday as he did Thursday for the first time since the
December 17 takeover of the Japanese ambassador's compound,
where the hostages are being held.
Signs of progress
Analysts read Cerpa's presence on Thursday as an important
sign of progress. Participants said the session he attended
was "constructive" but gave no more details.
But Fujimori and the Tupac Amaru cautioned over the weekend
that talks were still at the "preliminary stage." The
meetings could prepare the groundwork for final negotiations,
Rebel spokesman Isaac Velazco, in a communique issued over
the Internet from the group's European headquarters in
Hamburg, Germany, said talks were not yet in the negotiating
He said the government "lacks the will to accept the minimum
point we established, which is freedom for our imprisoned
On Sunday, heavily-armed police continued their
psychological war against the guerrillas, blaring an
incongruous mix of songs and tunes through powerful speakers
aimed at the residence. The day's musical lineup veered from
Beethoven and opera sung by Placido Domingo to the theme from
"Love Story" and "Take My Breath Away" from the Hollywood
movie "Top Gun."
Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani entered the residence to say a
mass, and Red Cross medical staff gave the hostages -- many
of whom are suffering from treatable maladies typical of
middle-aged men -- a check-up.
The rebels, who freed most of their haul of captives in the
early days of the crisis, have now beaten the previous record
for Latin America's longest-ever hostage siege by a week.
The guerrillas have booby-trapped the building with bombs,
and their hostages include the president's younger brother
Pedro, as well two government ministers, the envoys of Japan
and Bolivia, and two dozen Japanese businessmen and
Reuters contributed to this report.
- Peru, rebels hold face-to-face hostage talks - February 21, 1997
- Peru, Japan agree to seek peaceful end to hostage-taking - February 1, 1997
- Sound of music replaces gunfire at Peru standoff - January 28, 1997
- Shots ring out in Peru - January 27, 1997
- Rhetoric heats up on both sides
of hostage dispute - January 24, 1997
- Rebels refuse to budge in Peru - January 18, 1997
- A hostage is freed in Peru as
government invites talks - January 17, 1997
- Peruvian rebels release one more hostage - January 17, 1997
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