Leftist rebels blew up high-tension lines in central El Salvador, blacking out the entire nation for an hour, a spokesman for the government-owned power company said.

Several Salvadorans and other longtime residents said Thursday they could not recall another instance in the 11-year-old civil war when the whole country was blacked out by sabotage.The blackout Thursday night came hours after a rebel announcment that sabotage of utility lines was suspended in urban areas. Rebel commander Robin Martinez said the measure was intended to reduce risk to civilians and create a more conducive climate for U.N.-mediated peace talks under way in Mexico.