Venezuela agrees to be guarantor in Colombian peace talks with guerrillas

Venezuela agrees to be guarantor in Colombian peace talks with guerrillas

Caracas served as guarantor at Havana talks between Colombian government and FARC guerrilla group that led to 2016 peace agreement

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accepted a request Tuesday from his Colombian counterpart Gustavo Petro for Caracas to act as a "guarantor” in negotiations between Bogota and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group in order to reach a peace agreement.

"Venezuela accepts the character of guarantor of the negotiations and peace agreements of Colombia with the ELN, and we will put our best will, in the name of God almighty, for the total peace of Colombia," Maduro said in a speech.

"Venezuela bets for peace, for security, for the stability of Colombia, and the peace of Colombia is the peace of Venezuela, is the peace of South America, is the peace of the entire continent," he added.

After receiving a letter from Petro with the request, the Venezuelan head of state affirmed that "once again" his country will participate in the negotiation process.

Caracas served as a guarantor at talks in Havana, Cuba between the Colombian government under President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group that led to a peace agreement in 2016.

Relations between the two countries soured, however, when former Colombian President Ivan Duque took office and supported Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and his efforts to oust Maduro in 2019.

Since coming to power, Petro has pledged to implement the 2016 peace deal with the FARC rebels and seek peace talks with the ELN rebels.

Negotiations with the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, Ecuador during the Santos government and in 2018 they were moved to Havana, where the group’s main leaders live. The peace talks were interrupted by former President Duque in January 2019 after the group carried out a bombing at a police academy in Bogota that killed 21 police officers. ​​​​​​​

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