Saturday, January 28, 2023

Colombia and ELN meet in Caracas at a time of tension

CARACAS ( Associated Press) – Delegations from the Colombian government and National Liberation Army guerrillas plan to meet Wednesday in Caracas for an extraordinary meeting aimed at easing tensions sparked by a failed declaration of a bilateral ceasefire.

It is the first public disagreement between the parties since November, when the recently inaugurated government of Gustavo Petro – the first leftist in Colombia’s history – rejoined the negotiating table with the ELN after more than three years of isolation. began.

Caracas became the venue of the first round of talks which ended successfully in December and now continues as an extraordinary meeting point as the second round is supposed to start in Mexico but there is still no set date.

Tensions arose after Petro announced a six-month bilateral ceasefire with the ELN and four other major Colombian armed groups. However, the ELN immediately denied this. And assured that it was the government which decided to take the measure unilaterally without mutual agreement.

The ELN then issued a statement in which it expressed its willingness to move to a second round of negotiations, but “after taking corrective measures that guarantee the overcoming of this crisis and the non-repetition of these unilateral actions and off the table”. ” Of conversation

Luis Eduardo Salis, an advisor to the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation and an ELN expert, told The Associated Press that it was a mistake by the government to announce a bilateral termination that had not been established between the parties, however, he believes it was a ” It is about “small crises” that can be resolved in a process of dialogue.

In comparison, Celis recalled that there was a crisis of greater magnitude in 2018 after the ELN carried out several attacks with explosives against police officers, which killed at least seven people, which led to a crackdown by then-President Juan Manuel Santos. The negotiating table was suspended. (2010–2018).

The Office of the High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia has said that the negotiating table is still standing and that the second round will take place in Mexico, one of the guarantor countries.

The day before, the parties reported that in Cali, in the southwest of the country, the first steps had been taken to implement the so-called “humanitarian relief”, reaching an agreement in the first round of negotiations with which they intend to meet There are immediate problems with the needs of communities affected by armed conflict in that area of ​​the country and which keeps them in prison or forces them to relocate.

The ELN, founded in 1964 as an anti-imperialist political project inspired by the Cuban Revolution, is believed to be the last active guerrilla in Colombia after signing a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

Nation World News Desk
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