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  • Chief peace negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Pablo Beltran.

    Chief peace negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Pablo Beltran. | Photo: Twitter @ELN_Paz

Published 10 May 2018

The latest talks will focus on arriving at a new ceasefire and discussing terms necessary to lay the foundation for a more lasting peace.

The new round of peace dialogues between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) began Thursday in Havana, Cuba.

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ELN, Colombian Government Resume Talks in Cuba

The latest talks will focus on arriving at a new ceasefire and discussing terms necessary to lay the foundation for a more lasting peace.

"Achieving peace in Colombia is a historic desire for all of Latin America, and so we don't hesitate to accept once again the responsibility of welcoming this process," Ivan Mora, the Cuban guarantor, said.

The ELN's peace representative, Pablo Beltran, emphasized the importance of continuing peace dialogues for the benefit of Colombia.

"The only viable path for Colombia is that this dialogue continues forward, so that we can remove violence from politics to be able to advance forward in a process of peace," Beltran said during a press conference.

At the same time, however, he also said that in order for peace to be a viable option for the leftist guerrilla organization, violence must be removed from politics and the government must maintain its end of the deal.

Noting that during the peace process with the now-disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) assassinations and threats against social leaders have continued, Beltran said: "If you invite us to leave behind our weapons and a scenario like this one continues, you must understand that little certainty awaits us."

The leader said the group's primary objective for this round of talks in Havana is to agree on a new ceasefire: "This round of dialogues will be dedicated to agreeing on a new bilateral ceasefire... better than the previous one." 

The negotiator also thanked the Cuban government for its solidarity in the process, opening its doors as host of the dialogues. Cuba was selected as the new mediator after Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno decided to withdraw his country's role in the process.

The Colombian government's chief representative said: "Colombia needs a society without kidnappings, extortion or child soldiers; we must live in a country where peaceful coexistence is what governs relations between citizens."

Cuba also acted as the host and mediator of successful peace talks between the FARC and Colombian government in 2016 and 2017.

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