On Monday, the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced that it will carry out a unilateral ceasefire in the remainder of the year so as to contribute to the development of peace negotiations in Colombia.
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“We keep our commitment to continue contributing to the creation of a better environment for peace this Christmas and New Year. For this reason, we decree a unilateral ceasefire that will be in effect from 6:00 am on Dec. 24 until 6:00 am on January 2,” the ELN said.
Nevertheless, this organization pointed out that the unilateral ceasefire will only apply to state military and police forces. The ELN reserves the right to defend itself if attacked.
Carlos Ruiz Massieu, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Colombia and head of the UN Verification Mission, expects that the ELN announcement will help alleviate the communities' suffering and improve their humanitarian situation.
Last week, representatives of President Gustavo Petro and the ELN concluded a first round of peace talks in Caracas, Venezuela.
On Monday, the Colombian government celebrated the ELN ceasefire declaration and asked other armed groups to do the same to contribute to the peace process in the country.
"The ELN has listened to the community, which supports total peace and which demands a de-escalation of the conflict in the territories," Interior Minister Alfonso Prada said.