Sharing the news on his Twitter account, Petro stated that “total peace” will come to the country and said, “This is a brave move. The bilateral ceasefire requires the armed organizations and the state to respect it. It will be a national and international confirmation mechanism. Total peace will come to Colombia.” used the phrases.
Stating that the agreement covers the dates between January 1 and June 30, Petro said, “The purpose of this ceasefire is to bring to the fore the ethnic-regional, peasant communities and humanitarian situations in general and to suspend aggressive actions.” made his statement.
Petro noted that the government has prepared a special decree to determine the terms and conditions of the ceasefire.
Reminding that the date may be extended depending on the progress of the negotiations, Petro said that the national and international surveillance of the process will be carried out by the United Nations Verification Mission (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Catholic Church.
In addition to the ELN, the armed organizations that have made a ceasefire include the Central Command of Marquetalia, the former dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombian Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces and the Sierra Nevada Self-Defense Forces.
Despite the peace agreement between the state and the FARC, some former commanders and FARC members who are at odds with the organization continue their armed actions.
BACK TO THE NEGOTIATION TABLE AFTER 3 YEARS
The parties, which met in the capital Caracas, under the guarantor and host of Venezuela, resumed the peace talks suspended in 2019 on November 22, 2022.
The meeting, in which Norwegian and Venezuelan observers were also present, was chaired by Otty Patino, a former member of the M-19 (April 19 movement) on behalf of the Colombian government, while Pablo Beltran led the ELN delegation.
In the first round of talks, a ceasefire was not reached on December 13, 2022, but a decision was made to improve humanitarian aid and conditions for imprisoned ELN militants in some areas.
Left-wing Gustavo Petro, who won the presidential election in Colombia and took over on August 7, promised to implement the 2016 Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and to hold peace talks with the ELN when he came to power.
HISTORY OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH ELN
Colombia began negotiations with the ELN, which were interrupted many times during the Santos era, and these negotiations were moved to Havana after Ecuador withdrew from the guarantor and host.
According to experts, previous attempts at negotiation between the Colombian government and the ELN, which has more than 2,000 members, and which are estimated to be funded by methods such as drug trafficking, illegal mining and kidnapping, could not progress due to the diffuse power division and radical attitudes within the organization.
Negotiations were suspended by then-President Ivan Duque after the organization’s attack on a police school in 2019 killed 22 people.
Photograph courtesy of AA.