SAN SALVADOR — Leftist rebels Thursday offered an 18-point peace plan to end El Salvador's eight-year-old guerrilla war and called for a new round of negotiations with the U.S.-backed government of President Jose Napoleon Duarte.
The plan, read by rebel leader Joaquin Villalobos over the insurgents' clandestine radio, reiterated previous rebel positions, including a demand for power-sharing with the government. But it also offered what the broadcast called concessions to ease the impact of the war on the civilian population.
Measures to "humanize" the war would go into effect while negotiators tried to resolve the conflict, under the rebel plan.
In return for a halt to aerial bombing and the use of long-range artillery by the army, the insurgents offered to stop using land mines, their most effective weapon, and to end their campaign of economic sabotage, which has caused a loss of about $1.5 billion since the war began.
Late Thursday, Duarte, speaking at a rally in northern Chalatenango province, dismissed the rebel plan, saying that if the guerrillas seriously wanted peace, they would lay down their arms.
"Violence is not the way to power," he said.