Gustavo Petro, who will take office in Colombia on August 7, proposed a “bilateral ceasefire” to the ELN and “all armed groups” on Tuesday. Negotiations with the guerrilla were interrupted in 2019.
The elected president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, proposed on Tuesday July 5 to the National Liberation Army (ELN) a bilateral ceasefire to relaunch peace talks with this guerrilla considered as the last active in the south-eastern country. American since the disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
“My message today to the National Liberation Army and all armed groups is that the time for peace has come (…) What I am asking for is a ceasefire on both sides,” said Gustavo Petro, who will take office on August 7 .
After the historic peace agreement signed in 2016 with the Colombian ex-partisan Revolutionary Armed Forces (Farc, Marxist), the following year during the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) Negotiations started with the ELN, first in Quito and then in Havana. But they were interrupted by his successor, conservative Ivan Duque, for his January 2019 attack on Bogotá’s police academy, which killed 22 cadets.
The day after Gustavo Petro’s election on June 19, the ELN, a Guevarist guerrilla founded in 1964 in the wake of the Cuban revolution, expressed its “full readiness” to negotiate with the first left-wing president in history. recent from Colombia.
Although a 2016 peace deal allowed the demobilization of most FARC fighters, Colombia is experiencing violence from dissidents and armed groups vying for control over drug trafficking and illegal mining.
The ELN currently has about 2,500 members, up from about 1,800 at the time of negotiations, according to authorities. It is mainly found in the Pacific region and the Venezuelan border.
Gustavo Petro also said he wants to expel armed groups operating on both sides of the border between the two countries once ties are restored, as he promised during his campaign.
A Farc leader killed
Meanwhile, the former Farc guerrilla, which has become a political party under the Comunes name, on Tuesday condemned a sniper for the assassination of one of its leaders in the south of the country.
Ronald Rojas, 41, was shot and killed near the town of Neiva on Monday, bringing the number of murdered peace deal signatories to “333,” the most of President Ivan Rojas, who has been in power since 2018. The majority under Ivan Duque, who took to Twitter to condemn Rodrigo Londoño, the commune president.
The head of the UN mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Macieu, tweeted about the ex-rebel leaders “committed to their territories, dialogue and reintegration process”, stressing “the need to strengthen the ex-combatants” security and peace leaders”.