A spokesman for El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren says he has no plans to fire his interior secretary following the release of an audio recording of the then legislator meeting with gang leaders.

The recording from 2014 was published by online news site El Faro days after federal prosecutors had 18 people arrested for allegedly participating in a negotiated truce with the gangs in 2012.

Presidential spokesman Eugenio Chicas said Tuesday that Interior Minister Aristides Valencia was not part of the current government at the time of the recorded conversation. He reiterated the government's position of not negotiating with gangs.

The recording suggests that as a lawmaker for the governing party, Valencia spoke with gangs about getting their electoral support.

Valencia told El Faro that they misinterpreted the conversation.