Colombia’s government and the country’s last-standing rebel group, the ELN, on Monday will enter permanent talks in the hope they can reach agreement on a bilateral ceasefire before the visit of Pope Francis in September. The announcement was made by the government’s chief negotiator, Juan Camilo Restrepo, who said on Twitter the primary objective of the unabated talks are to “make progress on the issue of a cessation of hostilities.” Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports
The leader of the Colombia’s disarming guerrilla group FARC met with the leader of the fighting ELN guerrillas in Cuba to discuss a “complete peace” in Colombia. The last time both Marxist groups met to formally discuss peace with the government was in 1991 when both groups decided against it and embarked on a major offensive. Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports.
Colombia’s government and rebel group ELN announced on Thursday that they have made a breakthrough agreement on landmine removal. In their first joint press conference after peace talks began in Quito, Ecuador, two months ago, the delegations announced they would begin working out logistical challenges for an agreed joint landmine removal program. Colombia Reports
Clouds gathered Monday over peace talks aimed at ending Colombia's half-century conflict after the ELN rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing at a bullring in Bogota. The leftist rebels' claim of responsibility, issued late Sunday on Twitter, pollutes the air at the peace talks as President Juan Manuel Santos seeks a deal with Colombia's last active rebel group to end a conflict that has killed 260,000 people. The ELN also claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack on a military patrol in eastern Colombia that wounded two soldiers, as well as several bombings on the Cano Limon Covenas oil pipeline.Enca
ELN, says senator Alvaro Uribe, "murders the nation's soldiers, blows up a pipeline, attacks citizens in Bogotá and nothing happens. Dialogue should be suspended until ELN accepts and abides by a total cessation of criminal activity," said the founder of the Centro Democrático. El País
ELN atenta contra Bogotá, asesina policía de la Patria, derrama petróleo en rio de Boyacá y Santos mantiene el diálogo.
Qué mal ejemplo! pic.twitter.com/2lOCUzhLrV
Sociologist Eduardo Pizarro discusses peace negotiations with ELN in an interview with El Espectador."FARC, as a Marxist-Leninist organization founded on the basis of democratic centralism, has a vertical command structure, so that decisions made by FARC's secretariat were compulsive for the rank and file. In the case of ELN, it is a federation of regional political and military leaders and achieving consensus is infinitely more complex. El Espectador
Although its inhabitants voted massively in favor of peace in the plebiscite, in Chocó people still live under fear and suffer the pain of war." Paradoxically, in Chocó, where war was felt with the most intensity, 98% voted 'yes' -- in favor of peace and yet we continue fleeing bullets, abandoning the territories", says Father Jaime Zapata.
In contrast to the FARC’s hierarchical structure, the ELN have a collective decision making structure which will complicate the negotiating process. A 2016 report from Conflict Analysis Resource Centre, CERAC, says that “A negotiated solution to the conflict with the ELN is not only necessary but will bring fewer human and economic losses to the country than an elusive termination to the conflict by military means.” Bogotá Post
One of the major criticisms of the peace talks has been the issue of popular participation, given that social organizations have not been represented. For that reason, and bearing in mind peace talks with ELN, OXFAM and Planeta Paz are launching the National Agenda for Peace. This project gathers the voices of those really responsible to live, verify and implement the peace agreements. Las2Orillas
The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the launch of formal peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the ELN rebel group, also known as the National Liberation Army. António Guterres issued a statement through his spokesperson on Wednesday after the two parties met in Ecuador's capital, Quito. UN Radio