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Rebels refuse to budge in Peru

banners January 18, 1997
Web posted at: 8:15 p.m. EST (0115 GMT)

LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Skirting the recent jamming of their radio frequency, leftist rebels holding 73 hostages used a new radio frequency Saturday to broadcast their rejection once more of the government's conditions for talks.


Palermo

The Tupac Amaru rebels accused government representative Domingo Palermo of reneging on his earlier pledge to consider all issues on the table -- which in the rebels' view includes the release of some 400 jailed rebels.

The government has said the release of the rebels' jailed colleagues is not up for discussion.

"There is no possibility of an immediate way to begin talks because in practicality, what they're asking -- is for us to denounce our principal petition, which to us, amounts to a condition we will never accept," said a rebel spokesman.

The man giving the address was assumed to be the rebel leader Nestor Cerpa, speaking from within the occupied Japanese ambassador's home.

Vincent

But the rebels did accept the offer for Canadian ambassador and former hostage Anthony Vincent to be an observer to any talks. Vincent has confirmed he would participate.

Palermo has also proposed a meeting outside the residence. The rebel spokesman said he would communicate with the government over where the talks might be held. There was no indication when the two sides might meet.

The rebels got more of their message across by unfurling new homemade banners on bed sheets from the rooftop of the mined and booby-trapped building the control.

"Most of the population would like to feed themselves as well as the authorities held here," read one message, referring to the meals provided daily by the Red Cross during the 32-day siege.

The banners also claimed the captive officials were "responsible for the government's policies that affect the people," and that the rebels' jailed comrades also had families who wanted their relatives' freedom.

The rebels' banners blew over during the morning, but surprisingly two hostages appeared on the roof to rearrange them. The two were identified by the task force as Japanese Embassy attache Shinji Yamamoto and second secretary Akihisa Ougiyama.

Valencia

Former hostage Luis Valencia, released Friday for medical reasons, kept public silence about his experience. The Red Cross said Valencia, former head of the Delta special forces unit of the anti-terrorist police, has ulcers. He was the first hostage released in 17 days.

The rebels have freed all but 73 of the more than 500 hostages seized at a December 17 party at the residence.

Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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