The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has urged the guerrilla organization National Liberation Army (ELN) to prove its commitment to establishing peace in the country after an ELN group attacked a military contingent in the Colombian Catatumbo that took the lives of nine soldiers and injured nine more. President Petro made the call on Friday, March 31 after meeting with the government delegation assigned to working on the peace dialogue. He also expressed his concern that the country has begun to lose trust in the peace process after the violent incident in Catatumbo.
“Peace is not going to be achieved with the deaths of more Colombians,” the High Commissioner for Peace Danilo Rueda stated after the meeting. “The National Liberation Army has in its hands an immediate responsibility to generate hope for the Colombian society. We hope that they listen to the Colombian people, that they listen to the communities. This Government of Change offers that space and those possibilities.”
Rueda stressed that the ELN must remain committed to what is being negotiated at the dialogue table “because the communities in the territories are tired of the belligerent actions of the guerrillas.” He also insisted that the ELN peace delegation must provide an answer on whether or not it represents the views of the entirety of the armed organization.
“The National Liberation Army must clarify if the peace delegation represents all of them as they told us or not, because it is not possible to sign an agreement in Mexico and simultaneously get a message like the one we got recently,” Rueda said, referring to the attack in Catatumbo.
The high commissioner also stressed that “nothing justifies, with or without a ceasefire, these types of actions that engender despair in Colombian society, and which particularly affect the inhabitants of these territories who are fed up with the violence.”
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Otty Patiño, head of the government team instructed to negotiate with the ELN, also made a call to the guerrilla group. “Before the third round of negotiations begins in Cuba, a clear response is absolutely necessary, so that we know what the ELN’s intentions are in relation to this process,” he said.
All the 17 members of the government’s negotiation team were present at meeting. The Colombian guarantors of the peace process, namely Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao of the Episcopal Conference and Carlos Ruiz Massieu, head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, also attended the meeting. They were accompanied by the ambassadors of Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Norway, which are the guarantor countries of the peace talks, and those of Spain, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, observers of the process.
(Radio Nacional de Colombia) by Camila Idrobo, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/May 27, 2023
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