Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mexican rebel group rejects government's proposal for talks

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A leftist rebel group linked to a series of oil pipeline blasts on Wednesday rejected an offer from Mexico's government to hold talks.

The People's Revolutionary Army dismissed a proposal by President Felipe Calderon because it said the offer showed no willingness to solve crimes allegedly committed by current and past administrations against its members.

The small rebel group, known as the EPR, last week said it would call a cease-fire if the government stopped investigating its members and supporters.

Mexico's Interior Department responded that it was ready to hold talks with the group, but would not halt investigations or prosecution of rebels.

In a message posted on a Web site that has carried past rebel statements, the EPR on Wednesday called the government's position "treacherous, coarse and crooked" and said it would wait for a "serious and responsible" offer before calling off attacks.

In 2007, the group claimed responsibility for blasts along more than a half-dozen oil and natural gas pipelines, set to demand the release of two rebels allegedly in government custody.

The government has denied holding the men, saying it investigated their disappearance in the southern state of Oaxaca in early 2007.

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