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Mexican Lawmakers Seek to Revive Peace Talks

<i> Times Wire Services</i>

Mexican legislators trying to restart peace talks between the Zapatista rebels and Interior Minister Francisco Labastida prepared to travel Saturday to Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state, in a bid to get both sides to the negotiating table.

Labastida said he would accept the intercession of a group of legislators after tensions were raised in Chiapas following one of the bloodiest clashes yet between Zapatistas and police. He has presided over an increasingly tough crackdown against dissent in Chiapas.

Critics say his tougher stance was one of the causes that led to Wednesday’s violence--which left nine people dead and six wounded--in remote villages in the municipality of El Bosque, about 50 miles from the regional center of San Cristobal de las Casas.

Meanwhile, two accused guerrillas said they and their comrades were trying to surrender when soldiers fired on them June 7 in El Charco, 70 miles west of Acapulco, leading to fighting that the government says killed 11 guerrillas. The army has claimed that the suspected Popular Revolutionary Army rebels fired first.

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