Monday, 23 April, 2018


Colombia suspends ceasefire talks over rebel attacks

Colombia suspends ceasefire talks over rebel attacks Colombia suspends ceasefire talks over rebel attacks
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 02:40

The warring parties agreed to continue negotiating a new ceasefire in support of peace talks that began in February a year ago.

Colombian Vice-President Oscar Naranjo Trujillo told the council that "the government is not walking away from peace" and has called urgent talks to salvage the ceasefire.

The talks are complicated by a lack of confidence between the parties and upcoming votes to elect a new president and congress.

According to a statement from the United Nations mission in Colombia, the assistance of the vice president to the special session of the Security Council reaffirms the Bogota government's will with the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Worldwide leaders, the Catholic Church and the head of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which until recently was the nation's largest guerrilla group, are all urging government and ELN negotiators to resume talks. But he said in light of the latest attacks it is "too early to venture a sense of what the future holds in terms of the situation on the ground and at the negotiating table".

He will travel to the department of Meta in central Colombia to visit a site set up for the reintegration of FARC combatants who have laid down their weapons under the historic 2016 peace deal. "We are peacemakers and peacebuilders". "But peace comes with a will and concrete acts of peace, not just words", said Santos.

His trip was announced Wednesday as the Security Council was meeting to discuss the United Nations mission in Colombia monitoring the 2016 cease-fire agreement that ended more than a half century of conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest rebel group known as the FARC.

Peace talks with the smaller ELN, whose founders in the 1960s included radical Roman Catholic priests, began last February.

Under the temporary agreement, the 1,500-member ELN pledged to renounce hostage-taking, recruitment of minors and attacks on infrastructure.

In the agreement between the two sides three months ago, the rebels agreed to stop their attacks while the government promised to improve the conditions of the rebels that are in jail. At end of truce, guerrillas committed a new attack against a pipeline of Ecopetrol, Colombia's first oil company. Unlike the FARC, ELN rebels have a more diffuse hierarchy that would make abiding by the terms of a ceasefire more hard to achieve.

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