Colombia and the National Liberation Army resume dialogue for peace in Venezuela

Colombia and the National Liberation Army resume dialogue for peace in Venezuela

The peace delegations of the Colombian government and the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) were hopeful this Monday in the face of the resumption of a political dialogue which, as assured by the parties, will express the feelings of the Andean country and will seek concrete changes in several areas.

At the same table, in a hotel in Caracas, the representatives of both delegations started the first cycle of negotiations, in which Venezuela hosts and guarantees a joint role with Norway and Cuba.

The speakers at the conference agreed to express the confidence generated by this start of talks, which resulted in a joint communiqué in which they agreed to undertake this process, understood as a claim, “with the full political and ethical will” of rural resuming areas and urban populations suffering from violence and exclusion”.

exchange instrument

Israel Ramirez, aka Paul BeltranSpeaking for the ELN delegation, thanked the international support for this mechanism, an affirmation which he believes reinforces commitment to the promise of pacification.

“This table must be an instrument of change and we want to make it an instrument of change, this wave of change that Colombian society is demanding and we hope not to disappoint this expectation,” he said after making his wish expressed that the interlocutor on the government side takes the same point of view.

“Colombians cannot see each other as enemies. The work we have is reconciliation, to find common ground again, to build a nation in peace and justice, that is the commitment we bring,” he noted.

For his part, the Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, stated that the dialogue had “important issues for the country”, including “concrete territorial transformations” and “specific challenges in terms of social and environmental aspects”.

“We have a horizon of dialogue to resolve, agree and bring about these transformations. We are safe and we perceive that there is a disposition,” he stressed.

Rueda, who insisted that the dialogue be an “inclusive process without any exclusion whatsoever,” recalled that the reason for the negotiations is to resolve conflicts, to honor those “murdered, disappeared, tortured, kidnapped,” and he was “convinced”. “reaching the purpose” that leads to “overcoming the death dynamic.”

The other actors in the peace dialogue

Venezuela, Cuba and Norway, as guarantor countries, expressed their hope for a successful conclusion of the negotiations and thanked the “trust placed” by being elected direct observers of the dialogue.

This was explained in a statement by Cuba, Norway and Venezuela in a brief joint statement with the Colombian Catholic Church and the United Nations, the latter two as guests.

“We appreciate the trust placed in us. We look forward to the trial taking place today. Without a doubt, this is an important step to achieve peace in Colombia,” they said.

For his part, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, celebrated the resumption of the peace negotiations via social media and thanked “the support of the Secretary-General (of the United Nations), Antonio Guterres, in this process”.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro also showed his support for the negotiations, affirming that his country, as the venue for the first meeting, “will spare no effort to accompany” what he saw as a “transcendental moment” in the Colombian reconciliation process.

a new try

The Colombian government and the ELN resumed negotiations that had started in 2017 in Quito (Ecuador) during the tenure of then President Juan Manuel Santos and later moved to Havana.

During Santos’ tenure, dialogue was interrupted several times, most recently six days before the end of his tenure as head of the Colombian presidency, which handed over to his successor, Iván Duque, on August 7, 2018.

Talks have since been suspended due to Duque’s demand that the ELN release all hostages in its possession and cease all criminal activity.

The situation worsened after the ELN vehicle bomb attack on January 17, 2019 at the General Francisco de Paula Santander Police Academy in Bogotá, which killed 22 cadets, including an Ecuadorian.

Everything changed this year, however, because Gustavo Petro, who succeeded Duque as President, made the resumption of talks with the ELN a priority as part of his “total peace” policy.

Four years and four months after their last meeting in Havana, the Colombian government and the ELN met again for negotiations, this time in Caracas and with Gustavo Petro as President.

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