The Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, Iván Danilo Rueda, announced this Friday (12) that the country will take the necessary measures to resume peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.
Rueda made the announcement in Havana, where he traveled the day before with Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva to explore the possibility of restarting dialogue with the ELN.
“Both parties agree on the need to start the dialogue process” to show the “true will” of the Colombian government and the ELN to seek “total peace” , “stable, lasting and sustainable”, said Rueda.
The high commissioner emphasized that the Colombian government will adopt “all political and legal measures” in order to “guarantee the conditions” necessary for the restart of the conversations.
Rueda added that Colombia “recognises the legitimacy” of the “ELN’s desire for dialogue in the search for peace” and that the guerrillas are They are also listening to “the voices of many sectors of society” calling for an end to hostilities.
Leyva and Rueda’s trip took place after the new president of Colombia, the leftist Gustavo Petro, stated in the beginning of the week that will try to resume peace talks with the guerrillas and that it would be decided shortly whether these negotiations would continue in Cuba.
The dialogue between the Colombian government and the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, during the government of Juan Manuel Santos, and in 2018 he was transferred to Havana, where the main guerrilla leaders are still based.
However, during Iván Duque’s next presidential term, he was paralyzed following the government’s demand that the ELN release all hostages and renounce this and other criminal activities.
After the attack by the ELN to the Cadet School in Bogotá, in 2019, which left 68 dead and 68 wounded, the Colombian government asked Cuba to to hand over the negotiators who are in Havana, but the Caribbean country invoked diplomatic protocols not to respond.
The ELN, which has grown in strength in recent years, has shown in several communiqués that, with Petro in power, it wants to return to the negotiating table with the government.