Colombia wants to resume dialogue with ELN guerrillas

Published on : 12/08/2022 – 23:30

The Colombian government has announced that it wants to resume dialogue with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) with the help of Cuba.

Bogota wants to resume dialogue with the rebels of the ELN, Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva announced Thursday in Havana. ” We wish to relaunch the dialogue with the National Liberation Army, the ELN, in this land of peace, in order to open the path proposed by President Petro towards total peace he said during a joint press conference with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.

The latter welcomed the Colombian decision. ” We see an opportunity to resume dialogue and move forward towards peace, as the parties involved decide. We will put ourselves at their service “, assured Bruno Rodriguez.

A Colombian government delegation has traveled to Cuba to assess the ELN’s readiness for peace, President Gustavo Petro said earlier in the day, expressing his wish to resume talks with the guerrillas. The head of state told the press that he had authorized the head of the delegation, Danilo Rueda, to ” make contact with the guerrilla leaders, settled in Havana since 2018, in order to relaunch the peace negotiations, interrupted by former President Iván Duque (2018-2022).

« We will assess, there are many rumors, communiqués, pro-truce statements, possibilities of peace, but now it is a question of seeing if it is true said Colombia’s first left-wing president.

Renewed violence

After the signing of a historic peace agreement with the ex-guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, Marxists) in 2016, negotiations were started with the ELN the following year under the presidency of the Nobel Prize Peace Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), first in Quito and then in Havana. But they were interrupted by his successor, the conservative Ivan Duque, after an attack on the police academy in Bogota, during which 22 cadets, in addition to the aggressor, were killed in January 2019.

The new Colombian president has not decided whether future talks will also be held in Cuba. Chilean President Gabriel Boric said on Monday that his country would be the guarantor of these negotiations.

Despite the peace agreement in 2016 which allowed the demobilization of the majority of Farc fighters, Colombia is experiencing an upsurge in violence from dissidents and armed groups who are vying for control of drug trafficking and mining. illegal mining. According to the authorities, the ELN currently has some 2,500 members, compared to about 1,800 at the time of the negotiations. It is mainly present in the Pacific region and on the border with Venezuela.

(With AFP)

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