Facebook Twitter

CRISTIANI OFFERS TO RENEW TALKS IF REBELS STOP ATTACKING CIVILIANS

SHARE CRISTIANI OFFERS TO RENEW TALKS IF REBELS STOP ATTACKING CIVILIANS

Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani offered Saturday to renew peace talks this month with the country's leftist rebels if they agree to stop attacks affecting the civilian population.

Cristiani told a news conference he would ask the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebels to stop "all types of terrorist actions" that endanger civilians by Dec. 15.If the rebels agree to the proposal, the government would be willing to meet FMLN representatives in Caracas, Venezuela, on Dec. 20 to discuss means of ending the country's 10-year-old civil war.

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed since the FMLN began trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed right-wing government.

Cristiani said his government hoped the peace talks in December would lead to an end to the war by Feb. 15 that would include the FMLN's transformation into a political party.

Cristiani said he will formally announce the proposal at a Central American presidential summit starting Sunday in San Jose, Costa Rica.

He said the talks with the guerrillas would not be broken off because of rebel attacks on government military positions but that the army would continue its operations.

"We're not asking the FMLN to lay down its arms," Cristiani said.

But "the terrorist actions against the civilian population must stop," he said.

On Nov. 11 the rebels launched their biggest offensive of the civil war that has brought heavy fighting to the working class and wealthy suburbs of the capital.