Colombia’s government and the left-wing guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) resumed peace talks in Cuba on Wednesday, reflecting a recent crisis sparked by questions over the rebel group’s command by President Gustavo Petro. Announced parts of two.
Petro reestablished peace talks with the rebel group in November 2022, as part of his efforts to end nearly six decades of violent conflict that has killed 450,000 people.
“After a first exchange of clarifications on the recent interventions by President Gustavo Petro, we resumed normal sessions of the negotiating table,” a joint statement issued in Havana and cited by Reuters said.
“We will continue to develop a joint vision of the conflict and the solutions needed for the country. We reiterate our commitment to achieving bilateral and national ceasefire agreements, civil society participation in peace building, and humanitarian actions and mobilization in this cycle .”, the statement said.
Both the government and the ELN confirmed the decision to remain on the table until a peace deal was reached.
The crisis and pause in talks came days after Petro questioned the unity of the rebel group’s command in an act with the military leadership in Bogotá and ordered the armed forces to attack illegal economies such as drug trafficking that financed the groups . armed.
The Colombian government and ELN are holding a third round of peace talks in Cuba, with which they seek a bilateral ceasefire to reduce the intensity of the conflict.
The ELN, which has more than 5,800 members, including some 2,900 combatants, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Previous governments’ peace talks with the ELN, which is accused of financing itself through kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking and illegal mining, fueled by its radical positions, a stretched chain of command and disagreements among its ranks Couldn’t proceed because of this.
Petro wants to start peace talks with two FARC dissidents and is preparing a law to bring criminal gangs to justice in exchange for reduced prison sentences.