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US envoy blames Salvador rebels for break in talks

US presidential envoy Richard Stone Saturday blamed the intransigence of El Salvador's leftist guerrillas for last month's suspension of talks between the rebels and the government. Mr. Stone, who was on a five-hour visit here as part of his latest Central America tour, told reporters the Salvadorean government's peace commission was ready and willing to continue the discussions.

His statement came hours after the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) accused Washington of manipulating a regional military alliance called CONDECA to crush Nicaragua's leftist regime. The defense chiefs of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras met Oct. 1 in Guatemala to reactivate the anticommunist alliance.

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The FMLN last week launched a fresh offensive in response to the United States-led invasion of Grenada, and Western diplomats here say the rebels are driving the Army to the defensive.

Meanwhile, the US is reportedly renewing pressure on the Salvadorean government to stop military leaders involved in human rights abuses, or to risk losing assistance.

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