GENEVA — El Salvador's government and leftist rebels met for U.N.-mediated peace talks Wednesday in a new effort to end their civil war, but disagreement quickly surfaced on the issue of a cease-fire.
Both sides and U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar agreed to seek a truce as an "initial objective" on the way to a negotiated settlement.
But Shafik Handal, chief delegate of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front guerrillas, made plain his group links acceptance of a cease-fire to progress on political reforms.
The rightist, U.S.-backed government of President Alfredo Cristiani says suspension of fighting must take priority.
The two sides signed a U.N.-sponsored declaration committing them to seek a cease-fire and a definitive end to "the armed conflict through political means as speedily as possible."