IN DEPTH: Colombia's Peace Process Explained
The National Liberation Army, or ELN, Colombia's second largest guerrilla group, will begin formal peace talks with the Colombian government in May, according to a leading member of the ELN's communications team.
Miguel Atalay, a correspondent for the ELN radio network Radio National Patria Libre, tweeted Thursday that the negotiating table will be installed in Ecuador in May.
La cadena Radial del ELN informa en primicia para Colombia y la comunidad internacional, que en mayo se instalará la mesa pública en Ecuador— Miguel Atalay (@MiguelAtal_ELN) April 8, 2016
“The ELN radio network reports first for Colombia and the international community, that in May the public table will be installed in Ecuador.”
The Colombian government announcement earlier this month that the two sides would soon begin formal peace negotiations, an landmark agreement since they had for months been undergoing preliminary talks that appeared to be stalled.
The negotiations are scheduled to be cyclical as the locations will rotate between Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Norway, after the first meeting in Ecuador.
The peace negotiations aim to put an end to the over 50 years of armed conflict in the country, which has already killed over 220,000 people and seen millions more displaced or disappeared.
Meanwhile, the Colombian government and the country's largest rebel group the FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, continue to undergo peace talks in Havana, Cuba. Negotiations between the two sides began in 2012, and they are said to be close to reaching a final peace deal.
However, the talks continue amid growing tensions in Colombia due to the recent rise of paramilitary violence and murders of social activists. The FARC and rights groups in Colombia have repeatedly said that peace cannot be achieved if the government does not acknowledge the existence of paramilitaries and take real steps to disarm them.
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