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  • ELN calls on Colombian President Duque to declare a ceasefire.

    ELN calls on Colombian President Duque to declare a ceasefire. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 October 2018

The armed group says de-escalation is needed to "reduce the intensity of the conflict."

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released a statement Tuesday requesting, once more, that Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announce a ceasefire on both sides of the ongoing conflict.

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The group says that since Duque assumed the presidency in August that “he has intensified military and paramilitary operations in areas where the National Liberation Army is present.”

The ELN said there is a "collective feeling of need" that indicates an urgency to reach a bilateral ceasefire agreement that the group believes would have a positive impact on the nation.

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.

President Duque says he is waiting for the group to release all kidnapped victims and cease their activities in order to restart the talks. In September, the ELN released nine detainees in an effort come to an agreement with Duque's regime. "The ELN fulfills its word as promised," an insurgent commander said.

The county’s prolonged armed conflict has been ongoing since the 1960s. Between October 2017 and January 2018, the Colombian government and the ELN agreed on a bilateral ceasefire that lasted 101 days.

Since then, the militant organization ordered unilateral truces, in what they claimed was in an effort to prevent any impediment of the voting process during this year's elections.

Funded and sponsored by Catholic priests and rebels, ELN is currently the largest active guerrilla group in Colombia. “The future of Colombia cannot be war. Today more than ever, a dialogue is necessary and violence must be separated from politics in order to achieve a peace that addresses the overcoming of the causes that originated the conflict,” the ELN said in a statement.

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