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Colombia to resume peace talks with ELN guerrilla group

Colombia to resume peace talks with ELN guerrilla group
Talks will resume ‘after the first week of November,’ says joint statement

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group will reestablish peace talks next month, the parties announced in a statement Tuesday.

Peace talks will resume "after the first week of November 2022," according to the statement that was signed by government Peace Commissioner Danilo Rueda and commanders of the guerrilla group, Antonio Garcia and Pablo Beltran.

"For the Government of Colombia and the ELN, the participation of society in this process is essential for the changes that Colombia needs to build peace," it said.

The announcement was made from Caracas, Venezuela, two days after it was revealed that the ELN delegation traveled from Cuba to Venezuela.

Negotiations with the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, Ecuador, under the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. In 2018, talks were moved to Havana where ELN leaders reside.

The talks were interrupted by former President Ivan Duque in January 2019, one day after the ELN carried out a bombing at a police academy in Bogota that killed 21 officers and injured 68 others.

Duque said at the time that he was not willing to negotiate with the rebels after they refused to stop attacks against the population and security forces.

Since new leftist President Gustavo Petro took office in August, he announced he would seek to resume talks with the guerrillas.

​​As a guarantor country, Norway welcomed the announcement.

“Norway congratulates the decision of the government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, ELN, on resuming formal negotiations,” its Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter. “This is an important step towards peace in Colombia.”

The Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, also praised the decision.

"From the United Nations we reaffirm our willingness to support the dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached," he said.

source: News Feed
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