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  • Colombian President Ivan Duque.

    Colombian President Ivan Duque. | Photo: EFE

Published 27 November 2018
Opinion

"The Campesino's clamor is only one: to turn, once and for all, the page of war that has left over eight million victims," legislators argued.

The Peace Commission of the Colombian Congress requested Monday permission from the Government to travel to Havana, Cuba, to help reactivate the peace process and dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN). 

RELATED: 
ELN Calls on Colombian President Duque to Declare a Ceasefire

In a letter sent to President Ivan Duque, members of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives from different political parties insisted on taking steps "to explore the proposals" of the insurgent group and requested a meeting with the head of state.

"The Campesino's clamor is only one: to turn, once and for all, the page of war that has left over eight million victims throughout the country," the letter to President Duque argues. 

"In order to express the elements with what we believe we can help to reactivate the dialogue process, we request a hearing with a delegation from our Peace Commission of the Senate and House of Representatives in the coming days," they said.

The legislators also recalled that 54 days have passed since the ELN Peace Delegation "invited the Peace Commission of the Colombian Senate to hold a meeting in Havana to unlock the dialogues."

Among the signatories, there are congressmen from the Liberal parties, Cambio Radical, Polo Democratico Alternativo, Alianza Verde, Decents' List, and Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun (FARC). In this sense, Senator Antonio Sanguino reiterated the need to reactivate the dialogue table "to give way to an agreement that allows reducing violence" in the nation.

The ELN has issued reiterated request for dialogue and a ceasefire. In October, the ELN released three Colombian soldiers as an act of goodwill, however, Duque's government insists the ELN must free all police and military personnel it has detained before resuming dialogue.

In early September the ELN published an official statement saying they had "publicly announced their commitment to a prompt liberation. We asked the government for an agreement on the protocols... to safeguard the safety of the detained and all parties involved.”

According to the statement, the only remaining disagreement with the government is the presence of international witnesses.

The Colombian government and the ELN had initiated peace talks in February 2017 under a mandate by former President Juan Manuel Santos. Those talks are currently in an evaluation phase. In a move that pushes peace talks further away, on Nov. 21 the Colombian government announced they won’t suspend the Interpol arrest order against Nicolas Rodriguez, known as Gabino, who was designated as the ELN's chief peace negotiator.

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