New left-wing president and former insurgent Gustavo Petro pushed to renew dialogue to finish 60 years of warfare.
The Colombian authorities and the left-wing Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN), the nation’s largest remaining insurgent group, launched new peace talks in neighbouring Venezuela geared toward ending practically 60 years of battle.
The push for the talks, which resumed on Monday after they had been suspended in 2019, got here from Colombia’s new first-ever left-wing President Gustavo Petro, who was a former member of the M-19 insurgent motion.
Petro has pledged a much less bellicose method to ending the violence wrought by armed teams, together with left-wing armed fighters and drug traffickers.
Dialogue begins in Venezuela
Representatives of ELN and Petro’s administration met in Venezuela, which restored diplomatic relations with Colombia in August after three years.
The delegates stated that they had gathered to restart a dialogue “with full political and moral will, as demanded by the folks of rural and concrete territories that undergo from violence and exclusion, and different sectors of society”.
Either side are prepared to “construct peace primarily based on a democracy with justice”, they stated in a joint declaration.
The primary spherical will final 20 days, with diplomats from Venezuela, Cuba and Norway serving to within the negotiations, whereas representatives from Chile and Spain will observe it.
Many years-long Colombia battle
Colombia has suffered greater than half a century of armed battle between numerous teams of left-wing rebels, right-wing paramilitaries, drug traffickers and the federal government.
The ELN began in 1964 as a leftist ideological motion by college students, union leaders and monks impressed by Cuba’s revolution.
The group is believed to have about 4,000 fighters in Colombia, and can also be current in Venezuela, the place it runs unlawful gold mines and drug trafficking routes.
It is usually recognized for staging kidnappings for ransom and assaults on oil infrastructure. America and the European Union have listed it as a “terrorist” organisation.
In 2016, a peace settlement disbanded the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, often called FARC, making ELN the biggest remaining insurgent group. It has since elevated its actions in territories previously underneath FARC management.
Beneath former President Juan Manuel Santos, FARC signed a peace treaty, subsequently abandoning its weapons and making a political get together.
In 2019, the peace talks with the ELN had been known as off by conservative former President Ivan Duque after a automobile bomb assault on a police academy in Bogota that killed 22 folks.
Whole peace for Petro
After successful the elections in August, Petro reached out to the ELN as a part of his “whole peace” coverage.
The ELN delegation spent 4 years primarily based in Cuba, as that they had been barred from returning to Colombia by the earlier authorities.
Colombian Defence Minister Ivan Velasquez, nevertheless, warned that the negotiations don’t suggest a “suspension of operations” towards the ELN.
“If there may be an encounter with somebody who has an arrest warrant, they have to be captured … There isn’t a ceasefire,” he stated.
Insurgent group pledges ‘elementary’ change
ELN chief Israel Ramírez Pineda stated the group goals to make “elementary adjustments”, as demanded by the Colombian folks throughout huge demonstrations in 2021 and in elections this 12 months by selecting Petro, forsaking the custom of conservative and average governments.
“Colombians can not see one another as enemies, the work we now have is reconciliation,” Ramírez Pineda stated.
“We hope that the federal government’s delegation may have an interlocutor in the identical sense”.
He added that the rebels hope america takes a “proactive and supportive perspective” to the dialogue. The US for many years has supported Colombia’s armed forces.