Colombia to restart peace talks with insurgents ELN members
Colombia’s government will restart peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) once its peace plan with the insurgent group in the country is approved, the country’s president said.
Alvaro Uribe has decided to resume the negotiations after four of the five main opposition parties on Friday voiced support for his peace plan.
“We are beginning our new phase with a new initiative, a new proposal and a new opportunity that we will announce very soon,” President Uribe told a rally in the capital, Bogota.
“We will begin with a new negotiation with all the sectors of the national liberation movement that we have been negotiating with for a year,” Uribe said, referring to his peace plan with the ELN that will be submitted to the National Congress.
“We are about to begin a new round of negotiations with all the sectors of the national liberation movement that we have been negotiating with for a year,” he said.
Colombia’s main opposition leaders are currently seeking Uribe’s favour in order to approve their peace plan, while the president’s office is trying to get the ELN to accept the plan.
The plan, which aims to end the nine-year insurgency in Colombia that has caused more than 100,000 deaths, is designed to be approved by both the legislature and Congress.
A new plan with the ELN would be a big advance in Uribe’s efforts to put an end to the nearly eight-month-old peace process.
The ELN fought a bloody war against Uribe’s government from the 1980s until the end of a peace deal in 2004. It emerged from the accord with a new self-styled leader, known as el Comandante, who was meant to help bring peace back to the country.
The ELN is still responsible for most of the violence in Colombia and is considered the biggest threat to Colombia’s peace process.
The ELN has said it would approve any peace plan it saw fit.