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Referendum on the Draft Charter Set on Sept. 29
For Peace and National Reconciliation in Algeria
Sepcial Contribution
By Algerian Embassy
His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

The following article is contributed by by His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria before the referendum on the draft charter for peace and national reconciliation set on Sept. 29, 2005. Here is the full text of his speech.

Algeria was almost caught in the storm of terrorism. The nation vacillated, its people were torn apart. Children from the same family killed each other, brothers and residents of the same towns and the same cities found themselves opposing each other in a fratricide struggle that vainly tried to hide itself behind Islam, a religion of peace, tolerance and brotherhood.

Thanks to the courage and mobilization of all the Algerians that our homeland survived. Also thanks to the sacrifices of the Algerian security forces, led by the People's National Army, which is worthy of being the successor of the National Liberation Army, supported by all the patriots, that Algeria was able to repel the hydra of terrorism.

Algeria paid a very high price for its survival: tens of thousands of deaths, more than twenty billion dollars of damages, a costly obstacle to development and a weakening of its position on the international arena.

After security was restored, thanks to the Law on Civil Concord, the nation released its energy once again and dedicated itself to the national construction.

From then on, the Algerians rightly pursued their aspiration to rebuild their homeland, to achieve prosperity and to guarantee the future of the coming generations.

However, the wound of our country is still far from being healed. And it is not only due to the persistent terrorism, even with its reduced intensity, and the crimes of terrorism that we are resolved to stop by all means.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria

This wound also results from grave consequences of national tragedy. In addition to the families of our martyrs and the victims of terrorism, numerous families are still in tears due to the disappearance of their loved one. Numerous other families that see close ones being pulled into the infernal spiral of terrorism fall into destitution.

There are thousands of orphans; some because their parents died defending the homeland, others because their parents took weapons against the same homeland; still more others found themselves alone and abandoned because of the madness of terrorism.

However, the Algerian nation is the big family of all these orphans. Algeria will know how to take care of them and insure their future, but it will also have to make sure that these innocent hearts are kept away from the mortal germs of hatred and vengeance.

After the positive results of the Law on Civil Concord approved by referendum by the Algerian people in 1999 and the hopes that it created, the Algerians have to express themselves on September 29th, 2005, through the referendum on the draft charter for peace and national reconciliation.

National reconciliation does not mean forgetting the sufferings or negating the sacrifices, but it represents under its most noble appearance the aspiration of the Algerian people for peace and national integration, guaranteeing the unity of the country, without which the country's future will always remain compromised.

This will for peace and reconciliation constitutes a pressing call of the majority of the nation, convinced that without this definitive consolidation of peace through national reconciliation, no approach of economic and social development and no effort of modernization of the country would be able to produce the results that we want.

The draft charter proposes concrete measures that answer to the profound desire of Algerians to stop the bloodshed and restore peace.

First of all, the abolition of legal proceedings against all the numerous people who have already terminated their armed activities and surrendered to the authorities since January 13th, 2000, date of foreclosure of effects of the law on Civil Concord, as far as they are not involved in massacres, rapes or attempts at using explosives in public places,

Next, the abandoning of legal proceedings against the eople wanted in Algeria or abroad or sentenced by judgment by default, who will decide to make a voluntary appearance in front of the authorities, as long as they themselves are not responsible for limiting facts evoked from the above-mentioned, as well as the abandoning of pursuits against the people involved in activities of support for terrorism and who will declare themselves to the competent authorities,

furthermore, the grace for those condemned or detained for acts of terrorism other than massacres, rapes and attempts at using explosives in public places,

finally, commutation and remission of punishment for all the other individuals condemned definitively, detained or wanted for terrorist acts which are not concerned by the above-mentioned measures of grace and extinction of proceedings.

The draft charter for peace and national reconciliation also includes measures intended to establish and strengthen national reconciliation.

On the one hand, it is about the definitive lifting of the difficulties and constraints that continue to block those who chose to adhere to the policy of Civil Concord, and so placed their patriotic duty over all other consideration, refusing any internal or external hostile groups to take advantage of the crisis that Algeria experienced.

On the other hand, it is about measures that must allow the definitive normalization of the social situation of those who were the object of administrative measures of dismissal, within the framework of their activities in the service of the State.

Concerning missing persons, the draft charter for peace and national reconciliation proposes the following measures on this painful question:

First of all, the State will substitute itself in responsibility for the fate of all the missing persons in the context of the national tragedy, and it will take the necessary measures with full knowledge of the facts,

Next, the State will take all the appropriate measures to allow the legal representatives of the missing persons to transcend this terrible test of dignity,

Finally, the missing persons will be considered as victims of the national tragedy and their legal representatives will be entitled to compensation.

The above text was contributed from the Algerian Embassy in Seoul.






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