Colombia to Begin Formal Peace Talks with National Liberation Army
The announcement comes only five days before the second round of presidential elections, where Santos will face conservative candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga, a strong critic of the peace talks that the current administration has been spearheading with the country’s other major guerrilla, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Representatives of the government and the ELN said in a joint statement that they look forward “to agreeing upon an agenda and mechanism to make an end to the conflict possible, and the establishment of stable and lasting peace in Colombia.”
The president revealed that talks with Colombia’s second strongest rebel group began in January. As with the negotiations with the FARC going on in Cuba, once these initial talks are completed, a formal peace negotiation will begin abroad, without a bilateral ceasefire or demilitarization of territories.