ELN Guerrilla Freezes Peace Dialogues in Colombia

February 21, 2024 Hour: 9:02 am

On Wednesday, the Colombian Government asserted that the decision by the National Liberation Army (ELN) to freeze peace talks prolongs the armed conflict.


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“The unilateral decisions made by the ELN are entirely its responsibility and lead to unnecessary crises that prolong armed confrontation and the violence suffered by communities, as well as undermine society’s confidence in their willingness for peace,” stated the Colombian government’s peace delegation .

On Tuesday night, the ELN Central Command (COCE) announced the suspension of peace talks initiated 15 months ago, accusing the Colombian government of committing actions contrary to what was agreed upon at the negotiations.

“Although we are not responsible for what has happened, the dialogue will enter a suspension phase until the government fulfills what was agreed upon,” the COCE said.

However, the government’s peace delegation defended that since the beginning of the peace process in 2022, “the government has fully complied with all its commitments and has always been willing to find solutions to critical situations and difficulties faced at the dialogue table.”

Controversy over regional dialogues

The ELN implicates “the Colombian government, through the Peace Commissioner, the Armed Forces, and the Police” in the alleged violations of the agreement and specifically mentions regional dialogues in the Nariño deparment, supposedly aimed at causing divisions.

“Having agreed upon a national process of societal participation, it now sets up a regional dialogue in Nariño outside of the national process and disregards the ELN delegation and the Table where the international community, acting as guarantors, as well as the United Nations and the Colombian Episcopal Conference, participate,” the ELN said.

Regarding this, the Colombian government responded that it “has clearly defined as one of its priorities to develop peace in the territories” where the armed conflict is most deeply felt.

“In this sense, it respects and encourages the initiatives led by local leaders to protect the population and bring about social transformations. The behavior and position assumed by ELN fronts and structures regarding these initiatives do not depend on or are induced by the National government, but respond to the cries of communities tired of violence in the territory,” said the Colombian government.

Nariño Governor Luis Escobar stated that in the first week of March, they will convene “the first regional peace table with an armed actor” without specifying who it is. He said his department wants to show Colombia “that national-level dialogues are one thing and territorializing peace is another.”

“With the public disclosure of such a setup, disguised as regional dialogues, the process enters an open crisis and we are compelled to call our delegation for consultations,” insisted the ELN.

Autor: teleSUR/ JF

Fuente: EFE

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