Former Ecuadorean President, Rafael Correa, says he is ashamed of the decision made by his successor Lenin Moreno to discontinue Ecuador’s role as a guarantor country of the peace talks between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government.
On Wednesday, Moreno announced the move during an interview with Colombian network NTN 24.
"I have asked the foreign minister of Ecuador to stop talks and our status as guarantor, while the ELN does not commit to leaving terrorist activities," he explained.
The decision came on the eve of the fifth round of peace talks, which have been delayed until the parties find a new country to host the negotiations.
"My head hangs in shame,” Correa told the Associated Press.
“I want to apologize to Colombia in the name of my homeland for what this irresponsible government did… They’ve stabbed peace in the back,” he added.
Former far-right Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a long-standing opponent of the peace accords signed in August 2016 with another guerrilla groups FARC, praised Moreno’s decision, saying that "prohibiting the dialogue until the violence persists" is a “good example.”
Current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been pressured by far-right politicians to withdraw from the peace talks with the ELN, which experienced a setback in January after reported attacks by ELN forces against Colombian state security forces.
Analysts say a peace agreement with the ELN, now the largest guerrilla in the country is key to ending the over five-decade-long internal armed conflict in Colombia.
Norway, Chile, and Cuba have emerged as possible hosts for the next round of talks in recent days.