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The Government of Colombia and the ELN will resume peace negotiations in Cuba

The Government of Colombia and the ELN will resume peace negotiations in Cuba

(EFE).- The Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) made official this Friday the resumption of peace negotiations in Cuba, held since 2019.

The announcement was made in Havana by the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, in the El Laguito protocol room.

It is the same place where the two frustrated talks with the ELN and those with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were held, which culminated in the 2016 peace agreement.

“Both parties agree on the need to start the dialogue process” to demonstrate the “real will” of the Colombian government and the ELN to seek “total peace,” “stable, lasting and sustainable,” said Rueda.

Rueda is part of the Colombian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, who left on Thursday for Havana

He also assured that the South American government “recognizes the legitimacy of the dialogue delegation” of the guerrillas. In addition to the fact that he has verified that the ELN listens to “the voices of multiple sectors of society (…) that are clamoring for a dialogue solution to the armed conflict.”

Rueda is part of the Colombian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, who left for Havana on Thursday and also includes Senator Iván Cepeda, as reported by Efe.

Before the press conference, the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, met at the Palace of the Revolution -headquarters of the Executive- with Cepeda, Leyva and Rueda, with members of the ELN, as well as with the guarantors of Cuba and Norway , representatives of the UN Secretary General and the Colombian Episcopal Conference.

“I ratified to all the participants in the meeting the invariable commitment of Cuba and the unwavering will to continue contributing to the achievement of the desired peace for Colombia,” the president wrote on Twitter.

To this was added the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, who supported the decision of the Colombian Government on Friday.

Through a spokeswoman, Guterres celebrated “the efforts of President (Gustavo) Petro to deepen and expand peace in Colombia.”

The resumption of the peace talks was one of the campaign promises of President Gustavo Petro, who just took office last Sunday.

Petro, in addition, reaffirmed at the beginning of the week that he would seek to resume the peace talks.

The idea of ​​reactivating the dialogue table with the insurgent group had already been concocted even before the formal start of the Petro government

The idea of ​​reactivating the dialogue table with the insurgent group had already been concocted even before the formal start of his Government.

In an interview with Efe in May, Petro assured that he wanted to resume the peace plan of former President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018).

This would not only include the resumption of negotiations with the ELN but also the implementation of the agreement signed with the FARC.

The agreement with the ELN, he underlined in that conversation, “was half way through but it would have to be accelerated and it could, depending on the ELN, recreate the climate of peace and democratic progress.”

When the then leftist candidate triumphed in June in the second round of the presidential election, the guerrillas had shown signs of wanting to sit down at the table again.

“(The ELN) maintains its system of political and military struggle and resistance active, but also its full willingness to advance in a Peace Process that gives continuity to the Table of Conversations that began in Quito in February 2017,” assured the armed group. it’s a statement.

The negotiations of the Colombian Government with the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, during the Government of Juan Manuel Santos, and in 2018 they were transferred to Havana.

After the attack against the cadet school in Bogotá in 2019, which left 22 dead and 68 injured and was committed by the ELN, the Colombian government asked Cuba to hand over the negotiators, but the island invoked diplomatic protocols not to comply with that request. .

Eliécer Herlinto Chamorro, alias “Antonio García”, affirmed in an interview that the peace negotiations must be resumed at the point where they were stalled

Duque also demanded that the insurgency release all the hostages it has in its power and renounce this and all its criminal activities.

This Friday’s announcement leaves several doubts in the air.

In the first place, when will the talks formally resume and what will be the mechanism to follow, issues on which the parties did not offer details.

On the other, to what extent will the fringes that remained from the dialogue that was broken in 2019 be resumed.

The ELN’s top commander, Eliécer Herlinto Chamorro, alias “Antonio García,” said in an interview with the CM& news program published this week that the peace negotiations should be resumed from the point where they were stalled.

The last question is security and guarantees for the guerrillas.

In this regard, the High Commissioner for Peace stated that the Colombian Government “will adopt all political and legal measures” to “guarantee the necessary conditions”, including “recognition of the Protocols.”

More than 340 former FARC combatants who signed the peace agreement have been killed during the government of Colombian President Iván Duque (2018-2022), as reported by the Comunes party, which emerged from the demobilization of the former guerrilla.

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