Colombia’s authorities resumes formal peace talks with ELN insurgent group

Colombia’s authorities and the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN), the nation’s final acknowledged insurgent group, on Monday resumed formal peace talks in Venezuela for the primary time since they had been suspended in 2019.

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The talks are a push by President Gustavo Petro, who in August turned Colombia’s first-ever leftist chief, and has pledged a much less belligerent method to ending violence by armed teams, together with leftist guerrillas and drug traffickers.

Of their first assembly, the events agreed to “re-start the dialogue process with full political and ethical will,” in line with a joint assertion.

They added that the talks goal to “build peace” and make “tangible, urgent and necessary” adjustments, highlighting the necessity for “permanent compromises”.

The primary spherical of calls will final for 20 days.

The ELN began as a left-wing ideological motion in 1964 earlier than turning to crime, specializing in kidnapping, extortion, assaults and drug trafficking in Colombia and neighboring Venezuela.

It has about 2,500 members, about 700 greater than it did when negotiations had been final suspended. The group is especially lively within the Pacific area and alongside the two,200 kilometer lengthy border with Venezuela.

Dialogue with the group began in 2016 below ex-president Juan Manuel Santos, who signed a peace cope with the bigger insurgent group Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which subsequently laid down its arms and created a political social gathering.

However talks with the ELN had been suspended in 2019 by conservative former president Ivan Duque after a automotive bomb assault on a police academy in Bogota killed 22 individuals.

Petro – himself a former guerrilla – reached out to the ELN shortly after coming to energy, as a part of his “total peace” coverage.

The ELN peace talks delegation spent 4 years based mostly in Cuba, as they’d been prevented from returning to Colombia by the earlier authorities.

They traveled to Venezuela final month, the place the brand new spherical of negotiations was introduced.

“We all have to change”

Colombian peace commissioner Ivan Danilo Rueda hailed a “historic moment” for the nation after the assembly.

ELN delegate Pablo Beltran mentioned he hoped the dialogue could be “an instrument of change… and we hope we will not fail.”

“In Colombia, we all have to change” and “overcome the dynamic of death,” he mentioned.

Caracas is internet hosting the primary assembly and the talks will rotate between the opposite guarantors Cuba and Norway.

A press release from the guarantor nations mentioned Monday’s assembly was “an important step towards achieving peace.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hailed the method as “a message of hope for a peaceful Latin America and the Caribbean,” at a rally within the capital.

Colombia has suffered greater than half a century of armed battle between the state and varied teams of left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers.

(AFP)

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