Government of Colombia and ELN agree to resume dialogue

Government of Colombia and ELN agree to resume dialogue

August 12, 2022, 18:38 PM

August 12, 2022, 18:38 PM

The Colombian government recognized on Friday the “legitimacy” of the ELN negotiating commission to resume peace talks in Cuba and announced that both parties agree on the need to restart the dialogue suspended four years ago.

“Both parties agree on the need to restart a dialogue process with facts to show Colombian society and the world that this will is real,” said High Commissioner for Peace Danilo Rueda, reading a statement in Havana.

In front of the ELN delegation, headed by Pablo Beltrán, guerrilla leader for the dialogues during the interrupted negotiations in 2018, Rueda officially recognized “the legitimacy of the dialogue delegation of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the search for peace” .

The delegation of the Colombian government, accompanied by Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, met on Friday with members of this guerrilla based in Havana since 2018.

The meeting took place days after the arrival to power of Gustavo PetroColombia’s first leftist president, who proposes new peace agreements with the ELN and other armed organizations, as well as the end of the “drug war”“, which he considers a failure.

The government delegation was able to “verify that the ELN shares the will of the Colombian government” and that they are listening to the sectors of society that are clamoring for a negotiated solution to the armed conflict.

Wheel said that the government will take “all legal and political measures” to guarantee the conditions that allow a return to the negotiating table.

Present at the meeting were the guarantors of the talks, Norway and Cubaas well as representatives of the general secretary of the UN and the Colombian Episcopal Conference.

Previously, the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, had met with the two parties to ratify “Cuba’s invariable commitment and the unwavering will to continue contributing to the achievement of the long-awaited peace for Colombia,” according to the president himself in his twitter account.

Former President Juan Manuel Santos, who negotiated peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, also began peace talks with the ELN in 2017.

However, his successor Iván Duque buried them one year later after an attack against a police school that left 22 dead, apart from the attacker.

Although the peace pact that demobilized the FARC in 2017 eased political violence, Colombia is experiencing a sharp upsurge in violence due to armed groups that profit from drug trafficking and illegal mining.

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