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El Salvador President Mauricio Funes in abuse apology

By Emilio San Pedro
BBC News

Mauricio Funes (archive picture)
Mauricio Funes' apology is unprecedented

The president of El Salvador has apologised for human rights abuses committed by the state during country's 12-year civil war.

President Mauricio Funes made the first formal apology by one of the country's presidents since the end of the conflict in 1992.

He said the right-wing authorities who governed the country at the time had committed grave human rights abuses.

He also said they had violated the country's constitutional order.

"In the name of the state of El Salvador, I ask for pardon," said the president, speaking at a ceremony on the 18th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Those words - the first of their kind since the end of the war by a Salvadoran president - will be welcomed by the families of the more than 75,000 people who died in the conflict.

However, Mr Funes, who represents the party of the former Marxist FMLN rebel movement, will no doubt come under criticism for failing to also apologise for the abuses committed by the rebels during the war.

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