AFP – Colombian General Government and ELN guerrillas to resume peace talks on 04/10/2022 18:59

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The delegation of the Colombian guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government will resume peace negotiations, suspended in 2019 by the decision of then-president Iván Duque, in the first week of November – this Tuesday, in a statement to the parties (4). ).

In the note read after the meeting between the representatives of the parties in Caracas, we announce that “the dialogue process will start again after the first week of November 2022”.

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In addition to the resumption of the “dialogue table”, the text reports the decision to “continue the series of agreements and progress achieved since the signing of the agenda on 30 March 2016”.

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ELN commander Antonio García said at a press conference in the Venezuelan capital that the talks will be held on “rotating seats” between the guarantor countries, Venezuela, Cuba and Norway.

“The agreed places were alternate venues (…) we will start again without changing what was agreed,” Garcia told reporters.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president and a former guerrilla fighter, reactivated his contacts with the ELN after taking office on August 7, with the aim of restarting negotiations interrupted in 2019 by the government of Iván Duque. At the time, the dialogue was frozen after the attack on a police training school, which resulted in the death of 22 people as well as the attacker.

ELN delegates were received in Cuba for four years, and on 2 October they traveled to Venezuela to respond to the new peace negotiations promised by President Petro. The commander of the guerrilla group stressed that the way to seek peace in Colombia is not only with weapons, and demanded that “the causes of armed conflict, which are inequality and lack of democracy” be addressed.

The ELN is the last recognized Colombian guerrilla. Founded in 1964 by trade unionists and students sympathetic to Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the Cuban revolution, the organization failed to negotiate with Colombia’s last five presidents.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) became a political party by signing a peace agreement in 2016.

UN calls for ‘opportunity’

The United Nations celebrated the resumption of negotiations. In a statement, its secretary-general António Guterres urged both sides to make the most of this opportunity, to put an end to a deadly conflict that has dragged on for decades and whose resolution is fundamental to broadening the scope of peace.

The document “affirms the United Nations’ willingness to provide necessary assistance in the dialogue and implementation of agreements through its Special Representative in Colombia”. It also expresses its “deep gratitude to Cuba, Norway and Venezuela” and encourages “the international community as a whole to give its support”.

After the dialogues were suspended, the ELN increased its strength from 1,800 to 2,500, according to official estimates, and the main “military targets” were energy infrastructure and transnational corporations based in Colombia.

Although Antonio García leads the body known as the Central Command (COCE), the organization’s federated structure with its own spokesperson on each front makes it difficult to move negotiations forward, experts say.

Located on the Venezuelan border, the ELN has less firepower than the FARC, but its social base of militia members is larger and more diverse, according to the researchers.

10/04/2022 18:59updated on 10/04/2022 19:15

source: Noticias

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