From a statement issued this week by the ambassadors of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to the United States:

The Esquipulas Peace Process has done much to bring the Central American presidents' vision of peace and democracy to all the people of the region. At the invitation of the Central American presidents and of Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani, negotiations have been underway since last April under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Ceullar to bring the conflict in El Salvador to an end. The Central American presidents have called repeatedly for rapid progress in these negotiations toward a cease-fire and political accords to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Salvadoran people for peace.

In response to the FMLN military offensive, which began Nov. 20, the Central American presidents requested the secretary general to undertake the necessary actions with the FMLN "in order to achieve a rapid cessation of hostilities" and urged "the international community to lend its support to this request."

We Central American ambassadors call attention to the fact that many days later, the FMLN offensive continues to cause suffering and has already resulted in more than 500 casualties, including 85 civilian casualties. We urge the FMLN to cease its military activities immediately and return to good faith negotiations so that all the Central American people may enjoy the peace and democracy they want and deserve.