CARACAS ( Associated Press) – The Colombian government and National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas announced Saturday that a second round of peace talks will be held in Mexico in mid-February, following the conclusion of an extraordinary meeting in the Venezuelan capital in which the impasse President The conflict arose because of the declaration of a bilateral ceasefire by Gustavo Petro without the official consent of the rebel group.
A second round of talks was scheduled for February 13, when the issue of the involvement of various Colombian social sectors in building peace in the neighboring country would be addressed and “at the same time they would begin discussing and agreeing on the termination of bilateral relations.” ” Fire,” says a joint statement read by Helieta González, who represents Mexico as the guarantor country in the dialogues.
The government and the ELN — the last active guerrilla in Colombia — resumed peace talks in November 2022 after a suspension of more than three years.
The parties also agreed to maintain a communication mechanism during the period when they were not meeting, the statement said.
“This extraordinary meeting contributed to reaffirming and strengthening the principles on the basis of which these dialogues are conducted,” he said. The dialogue is based on the fact that “agreements have to be met”, the bilateral nature of the process, mutual recognition, trust and good faith”.
On 4 January, the Petro government suspended a bilateral ceasefire order with the ELN for six months, four days after issuing a decree that called for a ceasefire with the ELN and the country’s four other main armed groups from 1 January to June. A settlement was reported. 30, 2023.
In a statement, the ELN said on 3 January that it had not discussed such a proposal with the government. In this sense, he stressed the importance that the Petro government does not revert to declaring cases unilaterally without prior agreement.
The head of the Colombian government’s negotiating team and co-founder of the now-defunct M-19 guerrilla—Otti Patino, of which Petro was a member in his youth—commented that the meeting had difficult moments due to the crisis, but “clarity”. Thanks to those with whom he spoke “we believe that this situation of momentary misunderstanding has been completely dispelled and the table strengthened”.
However, he acknowledged that new divergences may eventually arise due to different existing approaches during the dialogue.
Israel Ramírez Pineda, the deputy ELN commander known by the alias “Pablo Beltrán”, told the press that for the bilateral ceasefire to work, it was necessary to agree on a series of protocols that would clearly govern both sides. binds to.
Beltran said the second round of talks will take several weeks in Mexico and he hopes to use it to move forward in favor of that agreement.