Mexican President announces ceasefire

MEXICO CITY (Reuter) - President Carlos Salinas de Gortari announced a unilateral ceasefire yesterday in an attempt to end 12 days of fighting between the Mexican army and up to 2,000 armed indigenous peasants in the southern state of Chiapas.

'I have taken the decision to suspend the first use of force in the state of Chiapas,' Mr Salinas said in a national address. 'The army will only react if it is attacked.' He added that he would pardon guerrillas who laid down their arms.

A top government delegation, headed by the former Mexico City mayor, Manuel Camacho, arrived in the southern city of San Cristobal de las Casas yesterday to try to open talks with the rebels.

More than 100 people have been killed since the Zapatista National Liberation Army launched an uprising by seizing several towns in Chiapas on New Year's Day.