Friday, March 1, 2024

Colombia extends ceasefire with ELN

The Government led by Gustavo Petro of Colombia has agreed to extend the ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN) for six months, the last active guerrilla in the South American country. The move, which is about to expire at the end of this month, was confirmed after an agreement between the parties and expected by the High Commissioner for Peace, Otty Patiño.

The high commissioner reported this Tuesday in Tumaco, in the Colombian Pacific, that “there is an agreement, now the Government has to issue the order and they gave the order for the ceasefire.” This decision will take place within the framework of the sixth cycle of peace talks between the Government and the ELN, which began this week in Havana, Cuba.

The ceasefire, which was initially agreed to last for six months in August 2023, is considered an important step towards peace in Colombia. It includes monitoring and verification mechanisms with the participation of the UN and the Catholic Church. In addition, the parties agreed to suspend “restrictions for economic purposes”, which refers to the kidnapping of civilians, marking an important step forward in the peace process.

Although this is the first time the ELN has negotiated with a left-wing government, the talks have gone through tense moments, especially after the kidnapping of soccer player Luis Díaz’s father in October. The release of the kidnapped person and the ELN’s commitment to suspend economic restrictions allowed the negotiations to be unblocked in December.

The negotiations with the ELN represent the most advanced table within the strategy of the Government of Petro to achieve complete peace, simultaneous dialogue with several armed groups, including dissidents of the FARC. The Government has held rounds of negotiations with Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba. Gustavo Petro recently suggested Vatican City as the venue for future rounds of dialogue after meeting with Pope Francis at the Holy See.

The Government’s chief negotiator, Vera Grabe, emphasized the importance of fulfilling the agreed plans, strengthening the ceasefire, advancing the transformation of critical areas, and resolving ethnic issues. and gender in the peace dialogues with the ELN. The extension of the ceasefire is an important step towards stability in Colombia, although challenges remain, such as the release of kidnapped people, which are expected to be addressed in this cycle of negotiations. @mundiario

World Nation News Desk
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