An envoy for the Mexican government appealed in a radio broadcast for a peaceful settlement of a rebel uprising amid warnings by the military that the guerrillas may strike again.
In a message broadcast overnight, Manuel Camacho Solis declared it was time to ask forgiveness of the Chiapas Indian community for "the suffering they have lived through" in Mexico's poorest state."Let's all make the effort, truthfully all of us, to create peace," Camacho Solis said in the message, which was recorded Wednesday and translated into an Indian language.
The conciliatory broadcast appeared aimed at defusing support for an estimated 2,000 Indian guerrillas who briefly seized San Cristobal de las Casas and outlying towns on Jan. 1, retreating before ground and air assaults.
The rebels of the Zapatista National Liberation Army have said they are fighting for the rights of Indians, who are a majority in the southern state but often lack jobs and housing.
Meanwhile, the rebels remained silent again Thursday morning on a call for talks on laying down their arms, made two days earlier by Camacho Solis.
He said that would be a first step in bringing about the social and political reforms demanded by the rebels. But the rebels have vowed not to disarm until the government negotiates an end to their misery.
At least 107 people have been killed since the rebels declared war on the government on New Year's Day.