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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 01:28 GMT
New Guatemalan leader sworn in
President of Guatemala Oscar Berger
Oscar Berger was mayor of Guatemala City from 1990 to 1999
The Central American state of Guatemala has installed a conservative former mayor as its new president after his victory in December's election.

Oscar Berger used his inaugural speech to promise a job creation programme driven by private investment.

The former mayor of Guatemala City also promised a major anti-corruption drive.

Correspondents noted that he did not address the issue of genocide charges against ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt, whom he defeated at the polls.

Mr Rios Montt, 77, is set to lose his immunity from prosecution on Wednesday when his term as speaker of the Guatemalan parliament expires.

His 18-month rule as dictator, which ended in August 1983, saw some of the bloodiest fighting against leftist rebels in Guatemala's civil war, which claimed some 200,000 lives before it ended in 1996.

The new president did say he would adhere strictly to the peace accords which ended the war.

"We can't talk about unity without promoting the peace accords," he said.

"This task will be fundamental for this government, the way to ensure respect for human rights and equality for everyone."

Among foreign officials at the inauguration were a US delegation led by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the presidents of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Guatemala victor calls for unity
30 Dec 03  |  Americas
Press hails Guatemala voters
10 Nov 03  |  Americas
Establishing Guatemalan democracy
08 Nov 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Guatemala
11 Jul 03  |  Country profiles

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