United Nations observer teams have played useful roles in the resolution of disputes that normally are international in character. There would be a strong potential for usefulness, however, in a U.N. presence to monitor human rights in the purely internal turmoil of El Salvador.
Right-wing and left-wing assassins are the peril to any agreement that might be reached by the talks now taking place in Mexico City. The suggestion by U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar for a human-rights-monitoring team, in a speech to the Security Council marking the first anniversary of U.N. attempts to mediate the dispute, was part of a growing wave of optimism attending those efforts. Spain has already offered troops for such a role.
Signs of new flexibility were detected as leaders of the right-wing government of Alfredo Cristiani, the largely autonomous army and the rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) met with U.N. bureaucrats in Mexico City. The FMLN seemed to recognize the need for a cease-fire as a precondition for agreement on reforms. The government talked about seeking a consensus.