Petro announces a bilateral ceasefire with five armed groups: “Total peace will be a reality”

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has achieved what seemed impossible: an agreement for a six-month bilateral ceasefire with five armed groups. The president has announced on his Twitter account that the commitment has been assumed by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the second Marquetalia and the Central General Staff, FARC dissidents, the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC or Clan del Golfo ) and the Self-Defense Forces of the Sierra Nevada.

“This is a bold act. The bilateral ceasefire obliges the armed organizations and the State to respect it. There will be a national and international verification mechanism,” said the president. “Total peace will be a reality,” the president wrote in his last message of 2022. In making the announcement, the government said it had received letters from civil society, the Church, and community organizations calling for an end to the violence.

In a statement released after the president’s announcement, The Government has explained details of the agreement. “The objective of this ceasefire will be to suspend the humanitarian impact on the ethnic-territorial and peasant communities, and the Nation in general, suspend offensive actions and avoid armed incidents between the Public Force and organizations outside the law with those who agreed to said cessation”.

The Government has announced that it will issue a specific decree for each of the organizations, in which the duration and conditions of the agreement will be determined. The start of these pacts, which seek to contain the violence, will be extended until June 30, 2023, extendable depending on the progress in the negotiations. The process will have national and international oversight by the UN Verification Mission, MAPP/OEA, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Catholic Church.

The ELN maintained a unilateral ceasefire that would end on January 2. With the president’s announcement, the guerrillas, who are in the middle of a negotiation process, extend their promise for six months, as a sign that they are willing to reach a peace agreement this time.


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Carlos Ruiz Massieu, UN representative in Colombia, welcomed the Government’s announcement with a message of support. “The United Nations supports all efforts aimed at reducing violence in the territories, protecting the communities affected by the conflict and building peace in Colombia.”

According to Indepaz, during 2022, 94 massacres were registered and 189 social leaders and 42 peace signatories were assassinated.

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